OUR VIEW: Kia welcomes veteran who wanted to see plant

Published 9:30 am Friday, March 24, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Whether it be witnessing your favorite team win a championship, taking a once-in-a-lifetime journey, or meeting someone that inspires you, we all have that one thing we want to see or do in life.

That moment happened for 98-year-old war veteran Render Martin, who always wanted to tour the Kia Georgia manufacturing plant in West Point.

“I read about it, and I heard people talking about it,” Martin said of the Kia facility. “I also saw the Kia cars (on the road), and I knew that Kia made pretty cars, and I wanted to see how they were made.” 

As the years went on, Martin’s health declined, and he wasn’t able to make it to the plant once it was announced that the public could come in for tours. 

Then, COVID-19 shut down the world for a couple of years and everything was put on hold. 

When his care team at the Trinka Davis Veterans Village in Carrollton heard about Martin’s wish, one of them contacted his uncle — an engineer in Kia Georgia’s general assembly production area — and the team at Kia set about making Martin’s visit one he would not forget.

Kia veterans from several production shops and departments at Kia lined up to greet Martin, who was wheeled in by his caretakers, wearing his favorite cowboy hat. The smile on his face as the team members thanked him for his service was immeasurable.

It would have been easy for Martin’s care team to dismiss the notion and continue on with their day-to-day work caring for Martin, but they chose to act. The team at Kia could have also decided to ignore the story and carry on about its day.

Neither of those happened and Martin had the chance to do something he had wished to do for over a decade.

It is nice to see people taking an extra interest in something that most people might view as impossible or “not their job” and turn it into a reality for someone other than themselves.

We appreciate and commend the care team at Trinka Davis Veterans Village in Carrollton for putting Martin’s wishes ahead of their work and making this tour a reality for him.

Another special thanks and appreciation goes out to the team at Kia Georgia for opening its production floor to Martin and fulfilling such as special moment that he will likely never forget. Also, we want to thank Kia Georgia for sharing this story with us, so that we were able to bring it to the community.