Though has spent much of his life serving others, Jim Martin says he plans to continue doing so in retirement.
He retired Friday after spending nearly eight years as executive director of the Gainesville-based Northeast Georgia chapter of the American Red Cross.
"There’s time that you need to be giving back as a volunteer and I’m going to be doing that," Martin said.
Andy Thompson, director of community services, said Martin held the chapter together after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina affected the entire Southeast.
"That was very difficult because we’ve never been through anything quite that magnitude that didn’t hit here in the Gainesville area," Thompson said. "It took somebody with a pretty steady hand to keep everything going."
The local Red Cross had a center set up in Gainesville to serve those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
"We took care of about 1,500 people during that time," Martin said. "When I say we took care of them, we provided them with the revenue needed to re-establish themselves, as well as food and clothing."
He said some Katrina victims who have settled in Gainesville still thank him for the assistance received from the Red Cross.
"I leave the Red Cross feeling good," said Martin, who also spent 30 years in the Air Force. "I thought I’d never find anything that I loved as well as much as the Air Force, but the Red Cross came close to that."
An interim director begins July 1. A selection committee will help select a new executive director and the process could take some 30 to 90 days, Thompson said.