Last updated: August 22. 2014 7:01AM - 830 Views
By - erinsmith@civitasmedia.com



Gene Martin
Gene Martin
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LUMBERTON — A Kidney Walk is planned for Saturday at Luther Britt Park for firefighter Gene Martin, whose kidneys are failing.


Samantha Failen, who is Martin’s sister, is organizing the event to help raise money to defray the medical expenses Martin has incurred. The walk will be two laps around the lake at the park and the starting and finishing lines are on the Interstate 95 side of the park.


“Gene has been a firefighter and a rescue personnel member for 50 years,” Failen said. “He’s been diabetic since I was a teenager. He is not the type to let anything slow him down.”


Failen said her brother is planning to attend the event, which will be held from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.


While Martin no longer goes into burning buildings, he still goes on the fire calls.


Martin is also a member of the Bladen County Honor Guard, Bladen County Firefighter’s Association, and the N.C. Fallen Firefighter’s Association. According to an Eventbrite website set up by Failen, Martin also served in the Army National Guard until his health forced him to resign.


He has also served as a Sunday school superintendent at his church as well as serving as a disc jockey at 1440 The Branch radio station, which plays gospel music.


Failen said that the family lost a sister to kidney disease several years ago, thereby disqualifying her as a potential donor.


“My way of trying to help my brother is putting this together,” said Failen.


Failen said in addition to the Kidney Walk, there will be fun and activities at Luther Britt Park all day long. Beginning at noon, the Elder Rock Music Management group will provide entertainment with three artists — Avery Hunt, who performs country music and gospel; Backwoods Music Society, which plays a variety of rock-n-roll and blues; and Michael Daughtry, who plays a variety of music including original work.


There will also be displays of fire trucks, Lumberton’s crash truck and an ambulance. There will also be a smoke house for the children.


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