As more than 250 people were leaving an after-school assembly celebrating Riverview Elementary School's 60th anniversary this week, fourth-grader Trey Lee approached the stage.
The 10-year-old asked Marty Resnick, the 85-year-old founder and chairman of the board at Martin's Caterers, to pose with him for a selfie.
"He's my best friend ever," Trey said of Resnick, nicknamed "Uncle Marty." "He's a good man."
Resnick was honored during the celebration by students, staff and community members for his years of helping others at Riverview, a 600-student school in Lansdowne.
His contributions have included providing afternoon luncheons at his Martin's West banquet hall near Woodlawn for students' achievements, or offering jobs to parents in need.
Resnick, who lives in Owings Mills, has been a supporter of the school for nearly half of the school's existence — it will be 28 years in September.
"You are a hero to so many of us here," said Principal Mary Maddox, who is in her sixth year leading the school. "So many children, including my own four sons, think of you as their Uncle Marty."
Maria Lowery, a former teacher at Riverview and the school system's assistant superintendent of human resources, said Resnick has given students hope and life lessons that may not happen in the classroom.
After visits with Resnick, staff would see positive change from students, she said. Students spoke softer in the classroom and were more considerate to each other, and "please" and "thank you" were heard throughout the day, she said.
"They learned how to establish goals and the value of perseverance," she said. "The students knew what they had to do in order to earn the privilege to participate in various recognition lunches and they knew not to give up if they didn't make it that one week."
After attending a conference on the importance of business partnerships, Bonnie Block, a former teacher who is now parent service coordinator at the school, approached Resnick and asked him to support Riverview.
At first, Resnick was hesitant. Running the catering company was an obligation that took up plenty of resources, he said.
But after Block and former principal Shirley Gordon persisted, Resnick was ultimately convinced that his company's commitment to the school would benefit teachers, students and parents. He became a regular presence in the school community, rewarding students for academic and behavioral performance.
Years later, it's no longer a feeling of obligation, he said, rather, a feeling of pride. It's something he and his son, Wayne, intend to continue, as they see the positive impact they make on the school community.
"It's fun, it really is," he said. "You see the results with people in the success that they've had in their lives. Maybe we had a small part in that success. It makes me feel proud."
He compared it to business. If you see success, it's something you want to continue, he said.
"You see the positive results of your efforts," Resnick said.
During the celebration, Maddox introduced the Uncle Marty's Hero Award, given to someone who exhibits goes above and beyond to help students and staff at the school, as Resnick has been known to do at Riverview.
The first recipient of the award was also announced, Trina Moses, a volunteer for the past five years at the school. Her name is now on a plaque that will be hung up at the school.
"Any time we need something done, she's there with a smile," Maddox said.
Trey's mother, Terlonda Sims-Lee, said Trey and his three siblings, ages 30, 27 and 23, all benefited from having Resnick around. She said it's important to continue his legacy.
"He makes the kids very happy," said Sims-Lee, 48, who also attended the school. "It gives them something to fight for."
The celebration also included presentation of a proclamation from the county executive as well as a performance of an original song, "Riverview," by students.