BOUNTIFUL — Heidi Martin inspired those who knew her.
She was born with a rare heart condition and despite constant health struggles throughout her life, became a nurse and wanted to help others. But a donation given to a Bountiful elementary school in her name Wednesday showed she also inspired those she didn’t know as well.
Martin, who received the nickname “Meidi Hartin” to reflect her mighty compassionate and kind heart, died one day shy of what would have been her 30th birthday in January. Not long after, her family learned that someone wanted to honor Martin by donating a $10,000 grant to a teacher at Valley View Elementary in Bountiful.
Wendi Stringfellow, a fourth-grade teacher in the accelerated learning program, was surprised with the grant Wednesday at a special assembly at the school.
It will be up to Stringfellow to decide how the $10,000 grant will be spent at the school.
“We were just surprised and grateful that someone would be thoughtful enough to attach her name to something like this,” said Brandon Hutchins, Martin’s brother-in-law. “The teacher at the elementary school has done a great job inspiring young people to do some great things and that’s what Heidi — she really loved people and inspiring people no matter what she was going through.
“It’s really fitting to attach her name to somebody who is doing the same thing in their own way.”
Stringfellow is the first teacher to receive the “Heidi Martin: Mighty Heart Educator of Excellence Award.” Hutchins said the donor wished to remain anonymous and felt inspired after hearing Martin’s story.
“I know that she’s a team player and I think she will use it to benefit, not just herself, but her grade level and the school,” said Kimberly Johnston, the elementary school’s principal. “I’m sure she’ll put a lot of thought into how she spends it. She’s the kind of person who will share. That’s just how she is. … I know what she orders will be put to good use and our whole school will benefit from it.”
Johnston said Stringfellow has 23 years of teaching experience in the Davis County School District. This is the first year that she has taught at Valley View Elementary.
“She has been a wonderful asset to our school,” Johnson said. “She’s worked very well with our other fourth-grade teachers in her grade level and with our other spectrum teachers. She’s very dedicated."
It’s not known if it will be a continuously awarded grant or if the dollar amount will change, but the donor wanted to continue the award in one way or another. Hutchins said the donor did want to focus more on rewarding teachers for their work and also honoring Martin.
“It’s a great way to remember Heidi,” Hutchins said. “Although some of the emotions of someone passing away and things are very difficult, this is a really happy way to be able to remember her and knowing that her legacy will live on through grants and things like this.”