94.9 WDKB and First National Bank presented this week’s #HometownHero award to:

Pastor Marty Marks

Pastor Marty was nominated by Gretchen in Cortland. She wrote: “Marty Marks has been the senior pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and Student Center~ DeKalb, Il for over 15 years, but his service to the community goes far beyond that. Marty is the first person to lend a hand in a time of need (he was active on campus moments after the NIU shooting in 2008) and is a great “connector.” He’s the man to call if you need to know who to reach out to in the community. He has a strong belief in the power and value of young people and has been empowering them to be leaders his entire career. One of his most visible ways of doing this is through the campus ministry program, Refuge. His influence goes far beyond that, from taking someone to lunch to hear about their passions or connecting them with a great mentor in their field!”

Upon meeting with Pastor Marty, we also learned about his fun tradition of handing out tiny ninja figurines to those who he felt were making a positive impact in the world. They serve as a small token of appreciation to those who are sharing goodness in the world in “sneaky, ninja-like ways.” With help from his church, these little ninjas have been gifted to ‘Ninja Worthy’ people across half a dozen states.

Thank you Pastor Marty for devoting your life to serving and inspiring this community, for supporting the youth in finding a path to their dreams, and for encouraging that we celebrate acts of kindness even in the smallest, simplest ways!