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Tuesday, February 19 2019 @ 02:30 PM UTC

Helping 'poco a poco' in Panama

Expat Tales By John Kubal, The Brookings Register - BROOKINGS – "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country."

Those words were uttered by President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961. Less than two months later, on March 1, he signed the executive order that gave birth to the Peace Corps.

Today more than a half century later, America's young men and women Peace Corps volunteers continue to do for their country – by doing for other underdeveloped countries around the world and showing the peace-filled goodness, caring and dedicated assistance of the United States.

One of those volunteers is Douglas Martin, 26, of Brookings. He's serving with the Peace Corps in Panama. Martin moved to Brookings with his parents, Dan and Margaret Martin, in 2001. He graduated from Brookings High School in 2004, and he went on to South Dakota State University, where he graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in global studies and political science.

"Kind of keeping busy following graduation," Martin worked at several jobs while his application for the Peace Corps – what he called a "notoriously long process" – was under way. In his instance, "it took a little over a year."

In his application, he indicated that for assignment he was "open to all areas geographically." He added that the skills and background of Peace Corps applicants are key areas for consideration when assignments are made. Martin had taken Spanish classes at SDSU and also participated in an exchange program that took him to Argentina.

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