A huge baseball fan, the sophomore had made the Defiance High School varsity baseball team and was vying to be a starting pitcher. With the school’s tradition of producing outstanding pitchers such as Chad Billingsley and Jon Niese, Scott even hoped to someday be a professional baseball player himself. He looked good in the uniform and on the mound.As Spring 2006 unfolded, Scott Hammersmith was enjoying a great life. The 16-year-old was a success at school both athletically and academically, and he had a loving, supportive family at home. Scott took care of himself. He was particular about what he ate and absolutely no sweet, caffeinated drinks. He had a plan. He knew what he wanted to do and being in shape was right at the top of the list. He was a handsome, popular kid – everyone’s friend, including the teachers. Scott was a straight “A” student with a younger brother and sister who looked up to him. His parents, Sherri and Fred, considered him “the perfect son” who never caused them any problems. He was an over-achiever who strived to please. Occasionally moody..but so are most teens. Scott Hammersmith seemed to have everything going for him as the baseball season was about to begin.But, there was a darker side that he kept to himself and wrote about in his journal. There, he revealed his disappointments, Things he considered failures. Things that caused him doubts. Things that made him depressed. Things he wanted others to know, but never really shared until it was too late. Thursday, April 6, 2006 began just like any other crisp, sunny spring day. Scott got up and went to school. He had forgotten something that he needed for baseball, so he called home and asked his mom to drop it off. However, this beautiful spring day was going to end very differently from any other for the Hammersmith family. It was the day that Scott Hammersmith came home from school and ended his life…. in his home for his mother to find when she returned from grocery shopping. Thursday, April 6 was the last day of Scott’s life, but it was the first day of what would change his family’s life forever. The day after Scott committed suicide, the letter carrier delivered his final report card – all “A’s.” Later, his parents found Scott’s journal and learned things they never knew about their son, but now wish he had shared. Too late. “I am not proud of what Scott chose to do, but I am so proud of who he was,” his mother says. Soon after his death, Sherri and Fred Hammersmith decided they had to make something positive happen from the worst of their lives. It took several years before they settled on something – the One Step At A Time 5K Run/Walk – to raise awareness of teen depression and suicide as well as some money to help prevent it. “Now, my road to recovery is to help stop one more parent from being a survivor and another child from becoming a statistic. That is how One Step At A Time came into my life.” says Scott’s mom. “There are still days that is all I can do – take one step at a time.”
Depression is Treatable. Suicide is Preventable.