SGTC helps Jets player make a difference back home

Published 1:28 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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By Pat Peacock


AMERICUS – While helping clean out a storage area in the South Georgia Technical College James S. Peters gymnasium, Jafeth Martinez, a 6’9” freshman forward for the SGTC Jets basketball team, had a question.

“We were just doing some cleaning, and we had some old basketballs that hadn’t been used for a long time,” Jets assistant coach George Ross Jr. said. “Jafeth was helping me carry them, and he said, ‘Coach are we going to throw these away?’ I said, ‘yeah, do you have something else in mind?’ “

Martinez, who hails from the island of Roatan in Honduras, asked if the college would consider donating the old basketballs to his home country where equipment is scarce.

“We don’t have too much help on the island for basketball,” Martinez said. “I always try to find a way to help my people, because I am here. Now that they are looking at me playing college, they’re going to say, ‘oh, if he can do it, I can do it.’ “

After Martinez asked about donating the gear, Ross took the idea to SGTC Athletic Director and Lady Jets coach Jason Carpenter. “I was moved by it,” Carpenter said. “It takes a lot of character for (Martinez) to be thinking about the needs of people back home. He’s a college student and an athlete, so he’s got a lot on his plate. He saw these basketballs and thought of kids back home who could use them. I thought that was pretty impressive and speaks to his character.”

Jets Head Coach Chris Ballauer also had praise for Martinez. “I can’t say enough about him as an individual. He’s appreciative of the opportunity he’s been given. For him to speak up and say ‘hey, we could really use some of these basketballs back home to help grow the game’ was all we needed to hear, and we were more than glad to do something.”

In total, approximately 40 basketballs as well as two basketball rims will be donated. Martinez is grateful for the support of South Georgia Tech in his effort to help the children of his home country. “I want to thank all the SGTC staff that are making this happen because it’s gonna help a lot.”

Character, teamwork, respect, and attitude are some of the work ethic traits South Georgia Technical College encourages in students. These valuable characteristics are exemplified by Jafeth Martinez and others who seek ways to give back to their communities even as they work to prepare for their own futures.

SGTC offers over 200 programs leading to a degree, diploma, or technical certificate of credit. Learn more and apply online at

Through November 30, apply for admission online with no application fee using the discount code MATCH23. Spring semester classes begin January 11.