Ed Martin Auto Group: A Legacy of Giving
The Ed Martin Automotive Group has a lengthy history of generosity to the Lawrence Township School Corporation. The latest investment is a $500,000 gift to the district, giving them the naming rights to both new high school stadiums currently under construction and due to open during the 2017-2018 school year. But this investment, like all the other donations they have given to the school, are a direct reflection of their gratitude for what the school system has given them and a heartfelt desire to support this community.
When Ed Martin was alive, he shared his philosophy with his daughters, Kathy Martin Harrison and Nancy Martin-Pressley, as they were growing up. According to Kathy, her father’s message was a very simple one. “He said, ‘No matter what you do, just be the best you can at what you choose to do.’ And we have carried that message forward.”
So when Ed Martin passed away 11 years ago, the company was passed down to his daughters along with son-in-law, Mark Harrison, now the President of Ed Martin Automotive. They made a commitment to carry on his legacy. In an effort to honor their father, the family started a scholarship program for a senior pursuing an automotive career in technology or business. And to date, the program has given over $30,000 in scholarships through the Lawrence Township School Foundation, of which Kathy is a former board member.
In November 2015, the Automotive Services Program at McKenzie was renamed “The Ed Martin Automotive Group Automotive Careers Training Center at the McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology.” The donation of $375,000 was given to support the program along with donations to the Lawrence Township School Foundation, the Bridge Fund and numerous athletic sponsorships. Financial support now exceeds $1 million. To the family, these checks were more than a corporate gift; they represented the example that their father gave them and what the school corporation has meant to them. All the Martin children and grandchildren are Lawrence Township graduates.
“My best days were in Lawrence Township schools, and I cannot even imagine having to go anywhere else. Every member of my family has attended Lawrence Township schools! The experiences that I had there and the education that I got was wonderful, and I just always felt like I have to give back.” Kathy went on to say, “We have continued in honor of my father’s legacy. I know he would have been so proud of what we have done.”
The donation was presented to the Lawrence community midfield prior to the Lawrence Central vs. Lawrence North football game at “Lawrence Night at Lucas Oil Stadium.” It was an especially meaningful evening, knowing that so many of the people from the township would be gathered in one location. The Director of Athletics Dr. Grant Nesbit shared, “We will be proud to have the Ed Martin name on our new stadiums. The Martin family have been longtime supporters of Lawrence Township, and their generosity helps us get to that next level with all of our student programs.”
Also on hand to present the check was Superintendent Dr. Shawn Smith who had this to say about the donation, “We are grateful to the Martin family for their ongoing commitment to our school corporation. Their generous financial support demonstrates great pride in our district, and we are proud to work alongside their family to ensue top notch facilities for our many program offerings.”
Kathy shared, “This was a truly special and magical moment! I really wish my father was here to see it all. Knowing that everyone in that building was aware that what we are doing is making a difference just fills my heart up. The timing was awesome!”
This was more than just a donation; it is a visual reminder to be the best and do the best job possible. It’s a legacy of the heart, which will surely be felt for a long time to come, and a legacy Ed Martin would have been proud to leave behind.