Gettysburg Connection regularly presents its Outstanding Community Contributor award to community members who have who made outstanding contributions to the people of Adams County. Click here to see all the awardees. Please contact us if you know someone deserving of this award.

Retiring local physician Fred Martin wins Gettysburg Connection Community Contributor Award

Gettysburg Connection has awarded its Outstanding Community Contributor Award to Arendstville family practice Doctor H. Fred Martin. Martin, who is retiring this year, has been a source of healing and humor in the community for over 40 years.

“Down-to-Earth,” “caring,” and “on your side” are just a few of the ways community members described the doctor that so many stayed with for so many years and who loved his funny, trustworthy, and genuine bedside manner.

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“Many years ago, when I was relatively new in Gettysburg, I found myself in need of a family doctor.  Thanks to a friend whose father was also in the medical field the name of Dr. Martin was given as a recommendation,” said local resident Marge Benson. 

“As my medical file became thicker and thicker, I began to realize what a special doctor I had selected. Not only did he keep all my records in front of him at every appointment (without the aid of a computer) he always talked with me about why he was making whatever suggestions he made. I always felt like a person in his presence and not just a number in the next waiting room.”

Another long-time patient noted that “he’s not busy typing on a computer but rather actively engaged with his patients and making eye contact. He takes time to answer questions thoroughly.”

Martin graduated from Thomas Jefferson University Medical School in 1980 and completed his residency at Latrobe Area Hospital in family medicine. After taking his boards, he started practicing in 1983 at 56 S. High St. in Arendtsville.  

Martin had committed to working in Arendtsville for three years to complete public service in an underserved area to repay part of his medical school tuition. “It was a win-win,” said Martin. as he discovered he loved working in the small community and decided to stay on after his initial stint ended.

“We fell in love with the community. I couldn’t imagine practicing anywhere else. It’s been exactly what I envisioned as a kid that being a doctor would be like,” he said.

Martin cared for babies, children, adults, and seniors, curing ailments from diabetes and high cholesterol to tennis elbow and sinus infections.

Martin and his family contributed to the community as he made himself available for office hours on most Saturday mornings, went on house calls to people who were unable to travel to his office, and checked in on patients in nursing homes or the Gettysburg Hospital.

Martin also served as Medical Director at Michael Manor Nursing Home in Gettysburg and as the medical doctor at the Biglerville High School football games. He has also served on boards and committees at Wellspan Health.

A former Biglerville High School football player relayed a story in which “a helmet got my chin and he stitched me up at half-time so I could continue to play.”

“He would take care of concussed players from Friday’s games on Monday mornings, and if ringworm moved through the wrestling team, he’d help,” said  Martin’s long-time medical assistant Kendra Redding. “Patients love Dr. Martin and have stayed with the practice; we’ve seen babies grow up here,” she said.

“I am in denial he’s retiring,” said a current patient. “It will be hard to find another doctor like him,” said another.

Martin announced his retirement to his patients with a letter, saying the door would close for good on Dec. 20. Martin provided several options for alternative care.

Martin said he would be satisfied to “not deal with insurance companies anymore. They tend to try and dictate,” he said.

Martin laughed as he relayed a story about how a patient called him one evening at 10:00 p.m saying he had chest pain. Martin asked him why he hadn’t called his cardiologist. “Oh, I didn’t want to bother him,” replied the patient.

Martin remembered a moving moment that took place during a house call. His patient, who was dying of cancer turned to her husband and said “I have always loved you.”

Martin will retire to what he calls “the shack” on Shippensburg Road in Biglerville that he and his wife Kathleen bought for their son to live in for three years while he attended Shippensburg University. They decided to keep it and have renovated it over the years.

“You never know how many good years you have left,” he said. “Kathy already has four trips planned in the upcoming year.”

Rather than having a party, Martin plans to leave his practice quietly. “I’ll sneak out the back door,” he said.

Martin’s patients, many who have now become friends, will miss him. “He’s always available, easy to communicate with, and he has a great sense of humor,” said one. “It’s an end of an era. The community is blessed to have had Dr. Martin serve the community for so many years.”

In addition to his practice, Martin also sang in the Zion United Church of Christ choir, and regularly grew out his beard to play Saint Nicholas at local churches during the holiday season.

“The relationships you form with people. That’s the best part of medicine,” said Martin. “For people to have trust in you – it’s amazing and gratifying.”

Amy is a freelance writer and reporter. She, her husband, and her two children reside in Adams County. She works in early childhood education and occupational therapy, and volunteers with local organizations.

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Jim Meyer
Jim Meyer
2 months ago

I wish the good doctor well in his retirement however, the timing is unfortunate. This area is losing Dr. Martin & Doctor Talbert Smith who is moving to MD. Dr. Smith has a large following both in Gettysburg and in Biglerville. We will have a hard time finding another doctor to take their places !

Shelley Knouse
Shelley Knouse
2 months ago

Enjoy a well deserved retirement Doc! Your humor and kindness will be missed!

Charlene A Leatherman
Charlene A Leatherman
2 months ago

Dr. Martin has been my primary physician since I moved to the Biglerville area and he took over the practice vacated by the late Dr. Hale and Dr. Sterret. I will miss his friendly and caring manner. He always had time to discuss any concerns you had and did rush through your appointment. He will be sorely missed. Wishing him lots of good health and opportunties to enjoy his retirement — it has been well earned!!

Melinda Davis
2 months ago

I add my warm thoughts to the list for Dr. Martin. I believe in being pro-active, especially with health, and his astute experience has been lucky for me. My family will most definitely miss his insight and personal helpfulness.

Dwight Michael,MD
Dwight Michael,MD
2 months ago

Fred,

I am so pleased for you! I was always impressed by your calm, cool, and collected manner and your empathy for not only your patients but your colleagues. I pray that you will have a long, healthy and happy retirement. Knowing that you love to sing (me too) if you have not yet heard “Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later than You Think”, call me and I will sing it to you. Job well done, my friend.

Amy
Amy
2 months ago

Congrats!! Well deserved award!! Enjoy retirement 😃

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