KERNERSVILLE, N.C. -- It’s been exactly a year since James Martin Roberts, known as Martin, disappeared after last being seen at the Convocation Center at Appalachian State University. For his father, John, the pain, worry and emotions are still with him every day.
“Some of the coping gets better, but that’s only a temporary Band-Aid on a serious wound,” John said on Friday.
Martin, who was 19 years old and a student at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute at the time of his disappearance, is a Kernersville native. John says he was well known for his work on the soccer field.
“It’s tough,” John said, of Martin having been missing for an entire year. “[There are] moments that it just overcomes you and you just have to push through it.”
On the somber anniversary of his disappearance, friends and family are planning a gathering in Gastonia; near where many of Martin’s family members live. John described the event as a chance for people to get together in fellowship, comfort and prayer. He added that it’s also to recognize and honor Martin, as well as the impact he’s had on their lives.
“There’ll be points today that will definitely be harder than other days,” John said.
John says they still have hope that Martin will return home safely and will continue to have hope until they have a reason not to.
“We have things come to us and that can get you excited and hopeful, and then it may pan out and that’s kind of a kick in the gut,” John added. “You keep a certain amount of hope that’s always there and that’s one of the things that keeps us going forward.”
Although the last year has been tough, John says it was reaffirmed that there are good people in this world.
“People support you, people pray for you, people send you messages,” he said.
The family will collect soccer balls at the event, which will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club.
“We love Martin, we care about him, and miss him and we just want him home,” John said. “We want him safe.”