The Martins were the real winners of Saturday’s softball tournament

Published 1:47 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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More than 500 people showed their support for State Trooper Zach Martin and his family at the Susie Gray McConnell Sports Complex on Saturday, Mar. 11. A softball tournament was held as a fundraiser for the Martin family. 

Last December, a group of four people decided to pitch in and help raise money for firefighter Brent Hamilton who was diagnosed with colon cancer in the fall. They decided to organize a softball tournament. The tournament was such a success that the same group decided to create a nonprofit which became Big Hearts Outreach, according to Ashley Revels with the Washington Police Department and president of Big Hearts Outreach. “Before we could even get paperwork started [to create Big Hearts] we received the news about Trooper Martin and we knew then that there was definitely a need to keep this going and growing,” Revels wrote to the Daily News. 

Zach Martin, of Washington, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, last December, he shared with the Daily News in December. He began experiencing severe pain on the left side of his groin four months before his diagnosis. After a series of visits to a primary care doctor, a sports medicine doctor, he was sent for testing in Greenville and at Duke Health. A few days before Christmas, Martin was given the results of a biopsy done on his femur. Doctors believed they detected the sarcoma early, he said. 

Martin said the amount of support he and his family have received has been a “blessing.” 

“It was amazing to see the amount of people who came out and showed support for what I am going through and what my family is going through,” Martin said. In talking about Big Hearts Outreach, Martin continued to say that “words can’t describe how grateful and appreciative that me and my family are.” 

On a cold Saturday morning, the softball tournament drew a crowd of hundreds of people, Revels estimated. Twelve teams played from 8 a.m. until 9:45 p.m. Martin participated in the softball tournament by throwing the first pitch. Though the Truck Ninjas won the tournament, it was Martin’s family who really won, because the fundraising goal was met plus some, Revels shared. In addition to the tournament, a drawing was held where those in attendance could take home prizes from local businesses. 

Martin has lived in Beaufort County for 13 years serving in law enforcement at various levels. He said it means a lot to him that a softball tournament was held to honor him and his family. “When we started this journey, me and my wife, we weren’t expecting any of this.”

Big Hearts Outreach now has seven board members, most of whom are City of Washington Police and Fire personnel. “Our purpose is to provide comfort to those affected by tragedy, loss or sickness through fundraising and community outreach with fun and rewarding competition that will bring our communities together in times of need. Our mission is showing the heart of our community to those who serve and protect our community,’” Revels wrote.