Hometown Hero brings special graduation to student with terminally ill father

Hometown Heroes

Later that night, her father passed away

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WYTV) – One of the proudest moments as a parent is seeing their child walk across the stage in their cap and gown, getting their diploma.

One student almost did not have that moment with her father, who was terminally ill and had just days to live.

One staff member at The Ohio Valley College of Technology gave her that chance by bringing the graduation to them when they could not be there.

Courtney Martin is the career management director at OVTC, but her students say she does so much more than direct them on their career path.

“She’s a wonderful person and people from all walks of life come through here and it doesn’t matter if you’re older or younger, if you have issues or not, kids, whatever. She’s here to help you no matter what,” said student Brandee Eltringham.

Last month, Martin’s student, Courtney McKinnon, told her about her father, whose stage 4 cancer had spread to his brain. She was worried that he would not make it to her graduation.

In just 24 hours, Martin made it happen.

“My first thought was, ‘What can we do? We have to do something. What can we do to make something happen that’s going to help the situation?’ so I went into my office, pulled a couple of my work studies and some of the student government members and we just talked it out,” Martin said.

McKinnon said she received a text from Martin, asking her to come to her office the following day at 11:55 a.m.

When she showed up, they had a cap and gown waiting for her. McKinnon walked through the halls lined with her classmates and teachers, and received her diploma.

The best part was that it was all on Facebook live with her dad and mom on the other end.

“Mom said he smiled and then I walked in and showed him my degree. He gave me a hug and everything, told me that he loved me, that he was proud of me,” she said.

Later that night, her father passed away. Thanks to Martin, she can take that memory with her forever.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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