Martin's accident an 'amazing' story

by Erin Nipper

Rocky Martin is not like everyone else, and it is evident from the minute he walks into a room.

“Rocky is very loving, he’s always got a smile on his face,” said Kim Austin, Martin’s teacher at Greenbrier High School. “He constantly makes conversation, ‘Hi! How’re you doing?’ He’s [always] having a good day. Everybody knew who Rocky was, just from his attitude and demeanor.”

But on Oct. 27, 2011, Martin’s life changed forever when he decided to run some errands after school.

“It was raining outside that day,” Austin said. “Rocky had just come in because he was going to volunteer for the blood drive. We had a meeting that day. After the meeting I told him, ‘I don’t know if you need to go to Walmart today.’ He said ‘Yeah, I’ve gotta go to Walmart.’

“Rocky drove a motorcycle. Any student on a motorcycle you have concerns [about]. He was faithful to wear his helmet. I would ask him every day, ‘Do you have your helmet?’ and he would say ‘Yes.’”

As Martin pulled out of the Greenbrier High School parking lot, he was rear-ended and thrown off of his motorcycle.

“I was telling a truck [on the side road] to go ahead and go,” Martin said. “He screamed out the window, ‘Hey! Watch out!’ And before I could get my bike out of the way, I was rear ended.”

Austin said that, at the time, everyone believed that he did not have any serious injuries, but later learned that this was far from the case.

“We felt like he was going to be OK,” Austin said. “He was talking. [We thought] he had just gotten banged up. We learned later that he had a spinal injury. It was a brain injury of some sort. We had heard different reports throughout the night. It became very serious.”

Martin suffered two vertebrae fractures, a fractured skull, a slight concussion and a sprained left knee and ankle. Immediately following the accident, students began to support Rocky and his family.

“Some students had started with the social media requesting a prayer meeting for Rocky the next morning,” Austin said. “They [got it approved at the school] and all of the students who wanted to be there came early to school, we had a prayer meeting and then we had a little assembly and decided that any group or organization that wanted to make cards could take them up to him.”

Austin said the student body and community’s response was “overwhelming.”

“That day, all of the clubs and organizations made beautiful cards and we took them to the hospital and decorated his room. He was amazed how much the student body loved him.”

Martin said he knew he was well liked among his peers before the accident, but he was amazed with the love and support that surrounded him and his family.

“It was kind of amazing,” he said. “I didn’t know I was going to be able to really see everybody take up for me like they did. It was emotional. I thought, ‘How did they find the time to do all of these things?’”

The Greenbrier community and the student body of Greenbrier High School rallied around Martin and his family, providing groceries, clothing and other assistance to help them get through the duration of his recovery.

“The community just all pulled together,” Rocky’s mother Susan said. “The school faculty, everybody just kind of piled in around this family and made us feel like we weren’t doing this by ourselves.

When he got home from the hospital, people were coming to us and bringing us meals and stuff. They comforted us.”

Although Martin recovered from his injuries, he knows that he is fortunate to still be alive, and incredibly, his accident brought him closer to Christ — in the most astonishing of ways.

“It’s kind of scary, because that same day, I saw Heaven’s gates,” he said. “It’s kind of amazing that I can say that, but it was kind of scary. I saw bright lights; I heard voices. I thought I was on my way. It was amazing.”

Susan remembers the story Martin told her after he woke up.

“He had three angels, each one asked him, ‘What are you doing here?’ Then a deep, soft voice asked him [the same question] and said ‘I’m not ready for you yet, go back. Not that you can’t come back, but not yet.’”

In spite of his accident and the trials he has faced, Austin said that Martin is still the same person he was before his accident.

“He is the same loving child as far as his attitude; his attitude hasn’t changed.”