Jim Martin, a Beacon resident and U.S. Navy veteran, was honored during the July 5 New York Yankees game.
How were you selected to appear at the game?
You have to pay $100 for them to vet you. A lawyer looks through your records to determine if you have any benefits you may not be getting, and if he finds something, then you sign a contract that would give him 30 percent of anything he recovers. Then he sends that information to the Yankees and tells them I am a potential honoree. They gave me a list of games and said to keep in mind that afternoon games are reserved for World War II and Korean War veterans. Once you get selected, they give you four seats and a VIP parking pass. I bought 12 additional tickets for family; those were half-price.
What was the experience like?
Around the bottom of the sixth inning, a Yankees representative appeared and walked me through a private area to the field-level box. After I walked onto the field, spectators came up and shook my hand and thanked me for my service. I didn’t expect that. Several people stopped by my seat and talked with me about Beacon. Everyone was very respectful; it was absolutely amazing.
Tell me about your time in the Navy.
I enlisted around 1967 and got discharged around 1971. I was a boatswain’s mate, third-class petty officer stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. The ship was the USS Arcturus; it was a supply ship. Our mission was to take frozen goods and supplies from Norfolk across the ocean and into Spain and the Mediterranean to service the 6th Fleet with food and supplies. Everybody is transferring food from the left side, or the port side, to the starboard side. The other ship that you’re giving it to is passing the food on to the other ship. Ammunition is coming across, oil is coming across. I think I did that six or seven times. It’s a hell of an experience.
How did it feel to be recognized for your service?
At the time you’re serving, you don’t appreciate what you’re doing. You’re doing it because, in my case, the draft was on. So you go in with the assumption that this is what you have to do, and I was proud to do it. You don’t truly enjoy it until afterward, when you reflect. There were difficult times out on the water but, now, when I think about it, I remember the good times I had with the guys I served with. That has always stayed with me.
You’re a diehard Yankees fan. What’s your prediction for this year?
I think they’re going to get the first wildcard. Even though I’m rooting for them, it’s hard to make up 10 games [to win the division], especially when you have to jump over everybody else. The American League East is tough. I’m hopeful that the pitching can maintain and let’s hope that Aaron Judge comes back [from injury] to give them some life.