WHS’ Dawn Martell Teacher of the Year from VA Hospitals
WILMINGTON — Wilmington’s iPods for Wounded Veterans announced in a press release that Dawn Martell is the recipient of the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award on behalf of the Poplar Springs Hospital Behavioral Health and Military divisions in Petersburg, VA and the Veterans Administration Hospital Polytrauma Unit in Richmond, VA.
The iPods team presented the award to WHS Science teacher Martell last night at the School Committee meeting along with a copy of a letter to her from servicemen and women at Poplar Springs.
In their statement, iPods recognized Dawn’s work as Director of the WHS Local Heroes Club: creating and donating letters written to servicemen and women across the country, gratitude scrolls and snowflakes with messages for the veterans, teddy bears, and toiletry bags complete with everything from toothpaste to card games.
They included that Martell’s dedication to the veterans has been inspiring and appreciated. iPods co-founder and president Paul Cardello shared many words about Martell but focuses on one: her passion.
Cardello started working with Martell in 2012 when the Local Heroes Club first launched.
“Everything that she’s done has been positive,” he said. “She’s very creative and always one step ahead of me.”
Martell helps to organize all of the items the club collects that other Wilmington schools donate, whether it’s letters or holiday cards or toiletry items. Besides this award, Martell and the Local Heroes received a Healing Wreath Award in 2015.
iPods owes a lot to Martell and they’re proud that she is the first WHS teacher to be recognized as Teacher of the Year.
Martell gives all of the credit for this award to her students.
“My success is due to the students here who’ve put countless hours in working after school, organizing donation drives, and collecting everything,” she shared.
She also described that the students make the cards and the 3-D snowflakes; they write the Dear Soldier letters; and they put together all of the donation bags. She said that their mission as a club is to assist in the rehabilitation of injured servicemen and women however they can.
She believes it’s important for these students to realize that the nation’s veterans need all of the support that they can get.
She speaks on behalf of the Local Heroes as a whole when she said that they want to let veterans and their families know that they’re not forgotten.
While she continues to lead the Local Heroes in Wilmington, Martell goes outside of town to take what she does with iPods for Wounded Veterans even further. She’s visited the Chelsea Soldiers Homes to hand deliver the letters and donations from the students.
Cardello also said that she’s active in the military community where she lives to march in the 4th of July Parade alongside veterans and their families, adding that her son is in the Air Force.
Martell is honored and humbled to be receiving the Teacher of the Year award for 2018. Her next project with the Local Heroes is an upcoming team-up with UMass Lowell’s Veterans Service Office to pass out the club’s toiletry bags to the disabled veterans who are involved there. iPods for Wounded Veterans also has a job fair coming up on July 14 to help injured veterans all over New England as they re-acclimate.