ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - Rex Martin, chairman of the board of directors for NIBCO in Elkhart was caught by surprise on Thursday.
Mayor Tim Neese and the city of Elkhart honored Martin and his late wife, Alice Martin, for their philanthropic contributions to the city by renaming Simpson Avenue at Middlebury Street "Rex Martin and Alice A. Martin Avenue."
He knew nothing about the ceremony; the company and city kept it a secret.
"Were you shocked at all?" he was asked.
"Yes, absolutely. I didn't know what was coming," he said.
The intersection is near the NIBCO World Headquarters, where the renaming ceremony was held.
Over the years Martin has given much to the city, and he said there is good reason for that.
"It's where I was born and raised. It's where my father was born and raised, and my grandfather. It's been my home for most of my life, and I care about it and I want to help the people here," Martin said.
In addition to the street renaming, Martin was provided the city of Elkhart's highest honor, the key to the city.