WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 23, 2007) - A Mississippi National Guardsman will be honored this Sunday by having his image unveiled on the hood of a NASCAR Nextel Cup Car - the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet driven by Casey Mears.

Staff Sgt. Quinton D. Martin of Gulfport, Miss., has been named the National Guard "Hero of the Year" in a yearlong campaign launched by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. This is the first time a non-celebrity will appear on a NASCAR Cup vehicle, which will be officially unveiled at a trackside press event Saturday.

Martin and his wife, Pat, who nominated him, will attend the race, along with nine other National Guard Soldiers who were named monthly honorees in the "Heroes" program.

"The National Guard has done a lot for me," Martin said. "I appreciate everyone who voted for me. I know there are many troops who deserve it. We're all in this.

Martin's unit was called up for overseas deployment in late August 2005, the day Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast area. Although his unit was released from duty abroad to deal with the impact of the storm at home, Martin volunteered to continue with his assigned mission and left for Kuwait as a member of the 1108th Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot shortly after contributing to the relief efforts. He now serves at Camp Shelby with the 3rd Brigade, 87th Division, on Operation Warrior Training.

The yearlong "Heroes of the Year" initiative invited people around the country to nominate a National Guard Soldier, family or employer making a difference at home or abroad. Signa Kyle Lord, a family member in Fleetwood, Pa., was recognized for her troop-supporting efforts, as was Beach Manufacturing of Garden Grove, Calif.

"This was an outstanding campaign that allowed so many people to nominate and celebrate the bravery and dedication of our citizen-Soldiers, as well as the support of family and employers," said Col. Michael Jones, Army National Guard. "Quinton Martin is an example of the best and brightest serving our communities and serving our country. Nothing is more important to citizen-Soldiers than the support of their nation."

The nine other National Guard Soldiers honored were Staff Sgt. Robert, North Dakota Army National Guard; Staff Sgt. Benjie R. Wells, Mississippi National Guard; Staff Sgt. Brent D. Cobb, South Carolina National Guard; Maj. Terry McPherson, Alabama National Guard; Sgt. Corey Briest, South Dakota Army National Guard; Command Sgt. Maj. David G. Collins, Ohio National Guard; Staff Sgt. Robert Dollaway, New Jersey Army National Guard; Sgt. 1st Class Todd Tilkens, Wisconsin National Guard; and Sgt. 1st Class Jody Hayes, Iowa National Guard.

For more information about the Soldiers, families and employers chosen as monthly honorees for their dedication to and support of the National Guard's mission, visit <a href="http://www.supporttheguard.com"target=_blank> www.supporttheguard.com</a>.

Page last updated Fri February 23rd, 2007 at 09:45