Karl ‘Killer’ Martin III honored for 50 years as a member of Orange County Volunteer Firemen’s Association

Gathering to honor Karl "Killer" Martin for his 50 years as a member of the Orange County Volunteer Firemen’s Association are OCVFA Past President Danielle Glynn, left, Second Vice President Bob Reynolds, First Vice President Jim Gerstner, Treasurer Robin Reynolds, President John Rader, Finance Secretary Scott Acerio, Fifth Vice President Ray Vanwegen, Third Vice President Eric Sholtz and Recording Secretary Dot Brown.

By Nancy Kriz
HUDSON — Karl “Killer” Martin III may no longer be a Monroe resident, but he’ll always be a firefighter.
Members of the Orange County Volunteer Firemen’s Association made sure to reinforce that this past Sunday with a celebration to mark Martin’s 50 years as a member of OCVFA and 51 years as a member of the Mombasha Fire Company.
Martin is now a resident of The FASNY Firemen’s Home in Hudson, which is dedicated to providing a home-like setting and personalized care for those volunteer firefighters who have served their communities, but can no longer care for themselves.
Governed by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) Board of Directors, the Firemen’s Home is the only facility in the world exclusively dedicated to volunteer firefighters for more than 125 years, according to its website.
This past Sunday, firefighters took the trip up to Hudson to mark Martin’s golden anniversary, bringing certificates of recognition and cake, all part of the annual Orange County Firemen’s Day held there on the first Sunday of every August.
The celebratory cake was courtesy of Village of Monroe Mayor Neil Dwyer and the barbecue was prepared by the Orange County Firemen’s Ladies Auxiliary.
In his grandfather's footsteps“It feels good,” said Martin. “That I am a 50-year member of the association, and 51 with Mombasha, I did a lot. I responded to fire calls, drills, monthly meetings and things we had going on such as fund raisers and parades.”
Martin said he wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a member before his grandfather - who was a volunteer firefighter for 27 years - passed away.
Monroe resident and former mayor John Karl, a member of Mombasha Fire Company and OCFA past president, has co-power of attorney for Martin. He worked with Martin to get him a spot at the firemen’s home after his health deteriorated.
“What better place than the firemen’s home,” said Karl, who added Martin became a resident there last December. “He has nobody. His family has all passed on, so the Firemen’s Home is the perfect place for him. He’s been there before, visiting up there when it’s Orange County Day. It wasn’t a strange place for him, which helped a lot.”
Karl said he goes up to see Martin every two weeks to meet him for lunch. But this past Sunday, a larger group came to surprise him.
“You never leave anybody behind in the fire service and we never forgot about him,” said Karl. “He’s among other volunteer firemen. When you go in there, you’re not a stranger. Everyone knows ‘Killer.’ We were out in the pavilion area and I saw his face light up. That, right there, was worth it to me. He got to see a lot of old friends. He didn’t want to be there at first, but now he realizes it’s his home.”
Martin said the greatest lesson he learned from being a firefighter was that it’s always important to help people in need.
He was also grateful to the people, especially Karl, who helped get him into the Fireman’s Home, when he was in need.
“I want to thank them for what they’ve done for me, to help me get into the Fireman’s Home,” Martin added. “They helped me get to a place where I will be taken care of. I lost my right leg from the knee down and I need dialysis. They take great care of me here.”
'Just doing my father's orders' Karl said like others, he’s known Martin for what seems to be “forever.”
“I knew ‘Karlie’ since I was a kid delivering papers in Monroe,” added Karl. “’Karlie’ was a fixture in Monroe, he was always at the Dunkin' Donuts in Monroe and did his banking at Trustco. He calls me every night at 6 p.m. That’s on my orders. We talk about what he did during the day. He’s such a nice guy. I’m trying to get more and more people to go up there and see him. My father always said, ‘When someone is down and out you help them out. People helped us out when we needed it.’ I am just doing my father’s orders.”