January 8, 2012

Dalton rewards Martinez with gifts

Charles Oliver

— J.R. Martinez might have to take an extra bag or two on his flight back to Los Angeles. Saturday during “J.R. Martinez Day: A Welcome Home Celebration” at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center, the former Dalton resident received several tokens of appreciation from the community.

• A commendation from Gov. Nathan Deal, presented by state Sen. Charlie Bethel and state Rep. Roger Williams.

• A proclamation making Jan. 7, 2012, “J.R. Martinez Day” in Dalton and Whitfield County, presented by Mike Babb, chairman of the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners, and Dalton Mayor David Pennington.

• A key to the City of Dalton, presented by Pennington.

• The Lions Club International Medal of Distinction, presented by Haynes Townsend, a member of the Lions Club. It is the highest honor given by the group to a non-member.

• A gift basket, presented by Debbie Freeman, his former principal at Dalton High School.

• A Dalton High football helmet signed by his football teammates, presented by friends and former teammates Mitchell Boggs and Aaron Ward.

• A Dalton High stadium seat, presented by Ron Ward, a friend and DHS athletic director.

• The last jersey Martinez wore while playing football for the Catamounts in 2001, presented by Ronnie McClurg, a friend and former football coach.

• A flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol, from U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, and a flag from United We Stand that will fly outside the Whitfield County Courthouse on patriotic holidays. Both were presented by Dewey Moss of the American Legion.

• A POW-MIA bracelet from Jo Anne Shirley.

• The unit guidon from Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, the unit Martinez served with in Iraq, and a complete army combat uniform presented by Charlie Troop, the Dalton-based Army National Guard unit.

• Rugs from Shaw Industries bearing the picture of Martinez after he won the latest season of “Dancing With the Stars.”

• A Karastan rug from Mohawk Industries presented by Joe Yarbrough, Mohawk vice president and Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce chairman.

• A brick with his name on it that will be placed at the entrance to the Dalton Community Center, which will reopen on Jan. 16.