Selma loses a true role model

Published 10:14pm Thursday, March 14, 2013

When you’re little, your role models are usually your parents or maybe even an older sibling. As you grow older your role models sometimes shift to what you’re interested in — a ballerina, professional baseball player or maybe an Olympian. And then you go to school and your teachers, and then professors, become people whom you admire.

These people are often talented and have a clear understanding of who they are. They are respected and admired by many.

When I was little, I looked up to people like Dominique Moceanu. I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to be able to do back flips and effortlessly glide between bars on a gymnastics floor. But I quickly discovered that my gymnastics career often resulted in sprained ankles and broken arms (I wasn’t very graceful). As I grew older I began to admire my teachers and often times my peers who were able to manage busy schedules and still make A’s. In college, my role models became my professors who shared their knowledge of journalism with me.

When I moved to Selma, I quickly picked up on who was one of the most respected and admired members of the community. The first time I met her was at a Dallas County Commission meeting, my first day of work. Sitting wide-eyed in the audience trying to figure out what was going on, a little old lady slid in next to me and introduced herself. She told me that someone told her to come to the meeting, but she had no idea what for.

Well, a few minutes into the meeting, an award was given out — and it was to that little old lady, Jean Martin. When she stood and made her way to the front, walking stick in hand, everyone stood and clapped. I could immediately tell that Jean was not only someone of importance in Selma — but a friend to everyone.

Jean wasn’t an Olympian or famous on a national level. What she was, however, was dedicated and driven. She made it known how deep her love for Selma was and she never stopped professing her love for this small Black Belt community.

Although I didn’t know Jean for very long, I believe she embodied what everyone in Selma strives to be. She looked at the positive rather the negative and always built Selma up.

I wish I could have known her longer because I’m sure she could have told me many charming stories of her life in Selma and how much she has experienced and learned. Jean has definitely shaped many lives and I think that alone gives her the title of a role model.


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