WASHINGTON — Lt. Gen. Donna Martin, the 67th Inspector General of the U.S. Army, was honored with the 2023 Keeper of the Community Award, along with several others, on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, Feb. 25.
Since 2006, the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Gospel Service has celebrated Black History Month with the Keeper of the Community Award. This award honors individuals and organizations who are devoted to creating positive changes in their communities through faith, health, education or quality of life.
“Lt. Gen. Martin was selected because of her skilled leadership, influential mentoring and her courage to champion and shape the next generation’s military and civilian leaders across the nation,” said Chaplain (Col.) Willie Mashack, Office of the Chief of Chaplains. “Her efforts will have an enduring effect on many individuals and communities.”
Martin, a native of Yorktown, Virginia, grew up as the youngest of six in a family and community that prioritized service.
She has always had a life of service. She grew up in a church that served in the community, and her family always participated. Her mother taught her from a very young age that service, what you could do for others, mattered and was important, Martin said in an interview with NBC.
“If you can change the life or the thoughts of one person so that they succeed and can be better, than it’s worth all the time in the world,” she said.
In college, Martin joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps with knowing very little of the value the Army had to offer. Yet, within ROTC she found a group of like-minded people who supported her and showed her what it meant to serve her country. So, she commissioned into the military police corps as a second lieutenant in 1988.
Martin decided to stay in the Army. She saw how her service made a difference in others’ lives, and she wanted to continue passing on her experiences and knowledge to younger Soldiers and officers.
"I wanted to show all the possibilities that can open if one works hard and perseveres through challenges," she said.
Throughout her career, Martin has served in many different staff positions from battalion, such as the 385th Military Police Battalion (Dragoons), to a combatant command with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, but she always makes time to mentor others.
“I am very busy most days, but I will tell you, I am never too busy if I get an email or I get a phone call from someone who needs to talk to me,” Martin said. “Our Army’s greatest asset is its people, and this award is a reinforcement of my priority of helping our people succeed.”
Martin said she felt honored to receive the Keeper of the Community Award, because she feels that she has devoted her career to making a positive change within the Army community.
“I am blessed and overwhelmed. This is one of the highest honors I’ve received in 35 years of service to our nation and our Soldiers,” Martin said.