At 33, Clint St. Martin has been a hero most his life. He served in the Marine Corps as a staff sergeant and motor transport chief and deployed to Iraq in 2008. The North Bay native returned to Sonoma County and graduated with a degree in sociology from Sonoma State University. Longing for a sense of community andcamaraderie that the military provided, he joined the Mountain Volunteer Fire Department as a firefighter, engineer and certified emergency medical technician. In June, his passions led him on a trip to China, where he assisted an animal group, rescuing dozens of dogs from torture and slaughter at the Yulin dog meat festival. He also donates his time to Devil Pups, a California youth organization providing leadership training and confidence for kids. St. Martin looks forward to rebuilding local communities after the Tubbs Fire, working as a licensed contractor. His home on Mark West Springs Road, was reduced to ash on October 9 during the fire, while he and his crew were first responders.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to fly. I wanted to be a pilot in the military. I’m in the process to fly helicopters for the U.S. Army next year and hope to execute rescue missions in the next chapter of my life.
At amusement parks, are you drawn more to the scariest roller coaster or the tamest merry-go-round?
I went to Great America last winter on a rainy day and there were only a few people in the park. My daughter and I rode every scary and adrenaline pumping ride continuously. We were a little sick at the end of the day.
What is something about yourself you hope will never change?
I hope to never lose my sense of humor. My father would tell me all the time: “Son, you shouldn’t take life so seriously. No one ever makes it out alive anyway.”
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
My refrigerator is filled with ash from the Tubbs Fire. The fridge where I’m staying is filled with veggies and dog food. Since I like meat, I’m occasionally tempted to grab the meat intended for the dogs. I don’t, but the temptation exists.
In the days following the wildfire, what simple pleasure did you enjoy?
I have one simple pleasure and that’s good coffee. Even in Iraq, my uncle sent me a double-walled stainless steel French press and a two-pound pack of Major Dickenson’s from Pete’s Coffee. I would boil the water, let it sit for about five minutes, and pour it into my canteen cup. I’d even save the shelf stable milk and chocolate powder from my MRE [Meal Ready to Eat] and make a poor man’s mocha.
What do you wish for the residents of Sonoma and Napa County in the aftermath?
I hope we continue the strong, close sense of community. America continues to struggle with social and economic divides, but this tragedy has drawn everyone closer.
What’s your favorite way to relax after a hard day at work?
“Relaxing” isn’t relaxing for me. I like to be productive and squeeze as much as I can out of a day. I don’t have TV, I don’t drink alcohol and I have a hammock I’ve never used.
What’s your dream vacation?
After traveling to 33 countries and touring three quarters of the US, I couldn’t imagine wanting to spend time anywhere else but here. This is my vacation and I get to experience it everyday.
What do you hope will be your biggest lifetime contribution to society?
My daughter, Soraya, who is seven years old. I’m convinced shje is going to change the world in some positive and massive way when she’s grown. She’s grounded and in touch with people like her mother, and possesses an indomitable and adventurous spirit like her dad.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
Trying to hatch an egg I collected from an Easter egg hunt by putting it in one of my winter gloves. I forgot about it until the following winter. Obviously, a chick never produced and I needed a new set of gloves.
What do you do to stay in shape?
I drink coffee in the morning and have a light, late breakfast. I’m constantly in motion, moving around all day. I try to eat good quality, organic foods. I periodically go for a run or do calisthenics at home before starting my day.
Located at 1410 Neotomas Ave. in Santa Rosa,NorthBay biz magazine is a monthly business-to-business publication covering Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. This year, the magazine is celebrating 43 years of continuous operation. It originally hit the stands in 1975, when it was called Sonoma Business, and only covered Sonoma County. Norm and Joni Rosinski and John Dennis, acquired it in 2000 and changed its name to cover an expanded market. Today, the magazine is part of Amaturo Sonoma Media Group. More here..