By Cady Kuzmich
CLIFTON PARK — Spencer Martin isn’t one to boast, though he has no shortage of reasons to feel proud. The 18-year-old Albany Academy graduate is the second Martin brother to be accepted into the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He left for Colorado to begin training June 29.
Along with creating his own lawn mowing business and working at Panera throughout his youth, Martin has become well-known in the BMX world. He was consistently ranked one of the top bikers in his division and represented the United States in two world championships. At one point, all three Martin brothers were nationally ranked in BMX.
As Spencer begins his freshman year at the Academy in Colorado Springs, his older brother, Sawyer, will begin his final year.
The youngest Martin had already been out to the Academy twice to visit. He doesn’t seem fazed by the distance from home — travel is nothing new to the Martin family. “Traveling has been a huge part of my life,” said Martin. He estimates he’s been to at least 25 countries and 40 states in his short 18 years.
Brenda Martin, Spencer’s mother, grew up in a military family. Her father was in the Air Force, so the family hopscotched across the globe when she was a little girl. ” I grew up all over Europe, Asia and the U.S.” she said. Brenda Martin is now a photographer. Her husband, Bill, spent three years in the Naval Academy before graduating from University of Michigan, and now works in sales.
The Martin’s eldest son, Trevor, recently graduated from college in Utah. Brenda said she once hoped her boys would go to college somewhat close to home. So far, with one son in Utah and two in Colorado, that hasn’t been the case.
She and her husband started a support group for the parents of children heading off to the Air Force Academy. They reach out to families in the Northeast with children in the Academy and lend a sense of understanding others may lack. “The experience these kids go through is unlike that of most college students,” said Brenda Martin.
“If I had the opportunity to go, I would love to apply,” she said.
Sawyer Martin’s stories of the Academy piqued his younger brother’s interest. “He had a very large influence [on my decision],” said Spencer. “He got me interested.” Through the Academy, Sawyer has had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam, Kuwait, Cambodia and Germany.
One of the biggest draws for the youngest Martin brother is the chance to skydive. He’s never jumped before but hopes to earn a spot on the Academy’s skydiving team, which he said is one of the best in the world. “Some kids get over 500 jumps,” he said. For those in the Academy, their first jump is solo, not tandem.
“My best friend just went skydiving on Sunday and said it was the best, most exciting thing he’s ever done,” said Martin.
According to the Martins, Sawyer was “petrified” of heights, but grew to love jumping regardless.
Before Martin decided to follow his brother’s footsteps he was considering a future in finance and looking into schools like Tufts, Tulane, Northeastern, George Washington and Wake Forest.
Now, his career goals have shifted into the medical field. After his four years at the Academy, Martin said, “I want to be a dentist.” He hopes to help people feel good about their smiles. Once he graduates from the Academy, he’ll have five years of service ahead of him.