|Fight Like Jimmy!|
By Scott Powell; Gaffney Ledger
A Limestone College softball player has organized a $250,000 fundraising campaign to leave a lasting legacy for Jimmy Martin, the longtime Saints head softball coach.
Martin faces a long recovery after he suffered a serious stroke while on a beach vacation July 25, 2012. The stroke left him paralyzed on the left side of his body and damaged his vision.
Martin has been the head softball coach for 25 years and earned his milestone 600th win during the 2012 season. He has taken a leave of absence from his coaching career while he undergoes rehabilitation.
While his return to coaching is uncertain, former Limestone College softball player Niki Woodberry Midgett has started a "Fight Like Jimmy" campaign to honor Martin.
"Jimmy and his wife, Beth, have opened their hearts and homes to hundreds of girls throughout the years," said Midgett, a 2007 LimestoneCollege graduate. "Both of my parents passed away when I was in college. Jimmy and his wife took me under their wing and served as surrogate parents. I love Jimmy and Beth with all my heart. They are special people. The Fight Like Jimmy campaign is a way our alumni and community can show their love and respect to this wonderful man."
The initial goal with "Fight Like Jimmy" is to raise $75,000 so the softball field can be named in Martin's honor. Midgett said she hopes the money can be raised in time for Martin to be honored during the college's 2014 alumni homecoming weekend.
"The ultimate goal of the Fight Like Jimmy campaign is to raise $250,000 and name the new softball complex the Jimmy Martin Softball Stadium," Midgett said. "To name the stadium we need to raise $250,000. To name the field, we only need $75,000. This equals 50 people pledging $25 per month for 60 months."
The fundraising effort has become part of a $12 million capital campaign Limestone College started last year to improve the academic resources and athletic facilities available for students. A new softball complex is one of several athletic projects planned in the capital campaign.
Midgett said she hopes the campaign will help ensure Martin is remembered for his extensive contributions to the Limestone College athletic program over the past 25 years.
"Given the limitations brought on by the stroke, his return to coaching is uncertain, but his legacy will live on forever," Midgett said. "Please consider donating to help make this dream a reality."