Fifth-grader uses personal story to tell of tobacco’s dangers

Bountiful fifth-grader Brock Martin never met his paternal grandfather. They never went fishing together or talked about sports. Tobacco use ended the relationship before it even started.

Brock’s grandpa died of throat cancer long before he was born — when his own father, Mike, was 15.

So, when Brock’s classmates at Tolman Elementary began crafting their entries for the Utah Department of Health’s TRUTH from Youth Anti-tobacco Advertising Contest, the 10-year-old knew exactly how he would convince people of the dangers of tobacco use. He’d tell them what tobacco cost him and his family: a loved one’s life.

Tolman Elementary fifth-grader Brock Martin receives his $200 check for taking second place in the radio category in The TRUTH from Youth Anti-Tobacco Advertising Contest from Gloria Yugel of the Davis County Health Department

Tolman Elementary fifth-grader Brock Martin receives his $200 check for taking second place in the radio category in The TRUTH from Youth Anti-Tobacco Advertising Contest from Gloria Yugel of the Davis County Health Department

“He’s seen pictures of his grandfather,” said Jodie Martin, Brock’s mother, “and he’s always wondered what he was like.”

Said Brock: “It makes me feel sad that we didn’t get to know each other, me and my grandpa.”

Brock’s script, which features a father and son discussing a deceased grandfather’s choices, took second place in the radio category in the statewide contest for fourth- and fifth-graders. Winners in TV and billboard categories were also selected. Brock won $200 and other goodies.

The contest drew 8,279 entries from throughout Utah, and 11 students received cash prizes. Milford’s Carver Iorg won Best of Show. His radio ad, “Secondhand Smoke Sucks” will be produced and aired.

“I thought [Brock’s ad] was very well written,” said Gloria Yugel, community health educator with the Davis County Health Department.

She said the ad allowed her to view the situation through a child’s eyes.

“A grandparent is so instrumental in a child’s life, and this child doesn’t have a grandparent due to tobacco use,” said Yugel, noting people make lifelong decisions to use tobacco when they’re children or teens.

“If we can get a child not to smoke before age 19, they probably never will,” she said.

Brock — he guarantees “I will never smoke” — was shocked when he learned he was among the winners.

“His teacher said she read the name of the winner, and she said Brock just stood there with his mouth open,” Jodie Martin said.

Brock, who hopes to someday become a pro football player, couldn’t wait to tell his mother the good news. When he called her, he could barely get the words out.

“I was very excited for him,” said the proud mom.

The $200 windfall more than quadrupled the fifth-grader’s previous richest net worth.

“I haven’t even had half of a hundred,” Brock said. “I’d say $46 is the most I’ve had.”

source: sltrib.com

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