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Friday, May 6, 2016

Kids are serious: 'Stop smoking, please!'

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

(Photo)
Courtney and her father, Mike Hetrick, stand in front of the 2005 Clay County Tobacco Prevention Poster Contest billboard on display in front of the Wal-Mart Plaza. Mike, who has been a smoker for more than 20 years, finds hope that he will be able to stop smoking in his daughter's message. Her design will be on display on billboards around Clay County over the next few months. Ivy Herron photo

"My dad smokes," said Courtney Hetrick, 11, a student from Staunton Elementary. "I get onto him about quitting all the time."

The 2005 Clay County Tobacco Prevention Poster Contest Winner was so impassioned about educating her father to quit smoking that she didn't do just one picture; Courtney made a book.

Showing smokers with yellow fingernails, smelly breath and premature aging, and how smokers can end up in the hospital, Courtney hoped to change her dad's mind about tobacco.

"He's not quit yet," she sighs when asked about it. "But, I hope he will soon."

Courtney's family is bursting with pride.

"I'm just so proud of her," said Marcy Hetrick, who can't stop smiling at her daughter. The two worked together on the project. "She asked me what would be the best slogan for the sign. I told her to use what she says to her dad all the time. She did, and she won."

Her family knows Courtney's billboard will make a difference.

"I think it will affect all types of families," said Becky O'Hern, Courtney's grandmother. "Every parent, and especially fathers that smoke, will definitely see that billboard and understand what it means."

Her father Mike Hetrick, an avid smoker for 20 years who has tried everything on the market in attempts to quit, understands.

"I've been trying to quit for a long time," Mike answers when asked if he will quit now. He's tried every product available on the market during the last 20 years while trying to give up smoking, but his daughter's message may be the one thing that will work this time. "She gives me a reason to not give up."



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