Bandstand flag honors OHW superfan and others lost in the community

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

The bandstand on the northeast corner of the Square is a centerpiece of Old Home Week, and this year on its right-hand corner there’s a poster of Jill Martin, who absolutely loved the triennial Greencastle-Antrim celebration.

It’s next to an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol following her death at 39 on Jan. 8, 2022, by the MPS Society, an advocacy group for rare mucopolysaccharidosis diseases caused by the inability to break down certain enyzmes.

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The flag was flown in Jill’s honor, but her mother, Wilma Martin, wants it to represent everyone in the community who has died since the last Old Home Week.

“We’ve lost a lot of Greencastle people in the last three years,” Wilma Martin said. “I really want it to represent all the losses … to honor Jill, but honor the others as well.”

Wilma Martin made this poster to explain the significance of the American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in memory of her daughter, Jill, that is displayed on the bandstand for the 41st triennial Greencastle-Antrim Old Home Week.

Jill had Morquio syndrome and stood just 36 inches tall.

She was seen frequently around town on her motorized wheelchair, especially at Old Home Week.

“She just loved it all, we closed up the town most nights,” her mother said. “Her favorite part was being where all the people were … the energy, excitement and fun.”

For 30 years, they lived just a block from the Square at the corner of North Carlisle and West Madison streets. It was a convenient place for friends and family to stop by, use the restroom and have a drink of water. They also were able to watch the Old Home Week parade sitting on the front steps.

Since the 40th Old Home Week, the family moved out of town near Antrim Township Community Park. Jill started talking about Old Home Week a year in advance and made sure her mother knew they would still attend all the festivities.

When Old Home Week organizers decided to place the flag on the bandstand, Wilma Martin said, “It touched my heart, I feel like she’s here.”

Jill Martin’s picture and a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol after her death in early 2022 are on the Old Home Week bandstand in her honor and in honor of everyone in Greencastle who has died in the last three years.

They’ve been members of the MPS Society for years and after Jill died the group offered to either send flowers or fly the flag over the Capitol.

“Jill would have loved (the flag flown) over the Capitol,” Wilma Martin said, noting it was provided by Sen. Pat Toomey’s office.

She described her daughter as probably having “the kindest heart of anyone I’ve ever known,” with nothing bad to say about anyone.

Jill was a member of the Blessings Class at Otterbein Church and member of Salem Ridge Community Church, both of Greencastle. She attended Shalom Christian Academy and graduated from Franklin Learning Center in 2003.

Her favorite T-shirt said: “I might be small, but to God I’m big stuff.”

Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at shardy@gannett.com