LETTER: The amazing Jenny Marterella

Published 11:30 am Saturday, September 18, 2021

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Dear Editor,

I want to tell you about a very special and “set apart” lady that I’ve known just a few short years.

The time I’ve known her was short, yet the influence and impact of her life in that small amount of time has proven to be big, mighty and far-reaching.

This lady’s name is Jenny Marterella. Jenny was killed Sept. 4 as the result of an ATV accident. Jenny was a member of the board of trustees of Camp Viola, and all of my interaction with Jenny was Camp Viola related.  This camp is managed by its board, therefore the success of the camp itself depends on the “All Hands On Deck” principle.  When Jenny came on board, her mindset was, I came to work, not just to be on the board, but to do! And oh, what an intentional hard worker she was.  I’ve always worked and thought of myself as a pretty hard worker. And I have always worked when needed. But Jenny made me look like I was at recess.  She worked when needed and when not needed. She was indeed a “DOER”, even coming to volunteer during camp week during the summer. She was an exceptional team member. She spoke louder with her silence than she did with her words. And she was automatically front and center because she was content to be in the shadows.

In the short time I knew Jenny, I knew there was something different about her. But couldn’t adequately define it. I suppose I did not have a long enough time with her for it to become clear to me. But now, after her home-going last week, I see it clearly. Crystal clear! And what I see is larger, more impactful, and far-reaching than could be contained in that one little human body.  That “it” is called “love” (Jesus’ kind of love!).  Jesus said, “They will know that you are my followers by your love.”  Her love for others was bigger than she was.

It appears that Jenny Marterella was his demonstration of this love. For Christ’s love through her did what politicians have not been able to do: mandate racial unity. It did what the church apparently hasn’t been able to do: show the world (racially) that we are his followers by our love. And it did what the stubborn, sinful human heart has not been able to do: love others as yourself!

I saw the results of her love for people expressed bigger, louder, and more active than words.

I saw her love overcome the obstacle of racial division and disdain that’s been lying in our path for a long time. It was greatly visible at her visitation.

The greatest of all that I saw was the people standing there with their hands across their hearts in a mode of honor, respect and gratitude for Jenny and what she meant and means to each of them! This moment was one of the greatest shows of Christian/racial unity I’ve ever seen on a local level.

May we, the Church of Jesus Christ in LaGrange Georgia/Troup County take up Jenny’s mantle, her legacy of love and proceed forward! 

Faye Benjamin