The NFL will honor three community heroes prior to Super Bowl LV and one of them will be from Pittsburgh.
James Martin, a Marine Corps veteran from Pittsburgh, was selected along with educator Trimaine Davis and nurse manager Suzie Dorner because of their dedication and commitment to helping others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martin will join the other two as Honorary Captains and will take part in the on-field coin toss ceremony, embracing the NFL's season-long message of 'It Takes All of Us.'
Martin, a Steelers fan, did work supporting veterans, high school athletes and area youth during the pandemic. He connected more than 1,800 veterans and their families to each other through the Wounded Warrior Project virtual programs, including livestreaming and video games.
In addition, understanding the limitations on crowd size at sporting events the pandemic brought with it, he volunteered to livestream Aliquippa High School home games so family and fans could watch and support the players. He is also doing the same for the basketball team.
Martin didn't stop there. During the pandemic he opened his home to neighborhood kids in need, offering them comfort and guidance, while also taking care of his own kids.
Martin received the good news on a Zoom call from Steelers' Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis.
"We would like to thank you for the work you have done for your community, and the Wounded Warrior community over the past year," said Bettis. "And to honor you, we would like to invite you to Super Bowl 55 as one of the NFL's honorary captains and participate in the coin toss."
Martin, who was in the car on the way to stream an Aliquippa basketball game, could barely talk.
"I am deeply honored. I don't know how else to say it," said Martin. "Oh man. Oh man. Thank you so much. I truly do appreciate it."
As he tried to gather his thoughts, Bettis thanked him again.
"Thank you for the service you provided," said a smiling Bettis. "We appreciate you. I take my hat off to you. I thank you on behalf of all of us."
Martin, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was injured in combat in 2013 and went on to volunteer for the Wounded Warrior Project. His goal during the pandemic was creating an online gaming community for the veterans. He never thought it would turn into what it did.
"I appreciate the family, the community," said Martin. "If there is anything I have learned in this life, it's much like the team. The team represents the city. We put it on your backs. I do the same thing for my family. It just keeps paying itself forward. That is the best we can do."
Before the coin toss, Presidential Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman will recite an original poem about the three Honorary Captains in recognition of their service.
"We are honored to recognize these three individuals who represent the best in all of us," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "During this incredibly challenging time in our lives, Trimaine, Suzie, and James have exemplified the essence of leadership, each in their own way. We are grateful for their commitment and proud to share their stories and recognize them during this special moment on Super Bowl Sunday."