I first met Andy Martin, Jr., of New Hampshire, when I began working at the credit union 14 years ago. Andy, just 5-years-old, was the Hanscom FCU Children’s Hospital Boston patient partner. He helped our staff, volunteers and members connect with the hospital’s work. We responded by raising funds every year through the Boston Marathon and our runner, Hanscom FCU board member Ray Phillips.
Along with my coworkers, I have watched him grow from an adorable preschooler into a determined young man. Now he is a Boston Marathon wheelchair participant, finishing last year’s race in a respectable two hours and 49 minutes.
This year, Andy is challenging himself to finish the race in two hours, a time that would qualify him for next year’s race. His coach, Jason Fowler, an Ironman Triathlon Wheelchair Champion, has been helping Andy develop his technique and improve his results.
We sat down and talked with him a few weeks ago as he prepared for his second Boston Marathon.
Andy is a friendly guy, easily laughing over jokes he shares with Ray and recounting how he is inspired by friends in Goffstown. “They roll down their windows to say hi or talk to me at stoplights when they see me out training,” Andy explained. “They keep encouraging me during the tough runs, the ones where I don’t have the energy but know I need to do.”
Well, Andy, all I can say is that you pay that forward many times over, by inspiring all of us to push on and do what needs to be done, despite our challenges. Good luck in this year’s race!