Weatherford Democrat

Top News

September 3, 2012

Healthy Woman group brings Elizabeth Smart to Weatherford

WEATHERFORD — As families empathized with Elizabeth Smart’s family when the then-14-year-old was kidnapped in 2002, then rejoiced in 2003 when she was finally identified and released from her captors, there was yet a part of the story that most did not know.

That part was how Smart would carry on afterward.

Weatherford Regional Medical Center’s Healthy Woman program is bringing Smart to Weatherford so that she can tell her story about overcoming adversity. The inspirational speech will be a part of the fifth anniversary Healthy Woman event, which includes a health fair with door prizes and giveaways Sept. 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. and dinner where Smart will speak from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Southwest Ford, 3000 Fort Worth Highway. Dinner tickets are $25 and may be purchased at www.WeatherfordRegional.com/HealthyWoman.

Healthy Woman, a program that has chapters nationwide, culls speakers from all walks of life, said Emily Lewis, marketing director for WRMC. Rather than bring in a humorous or reality TV speaker for the fifth anniversary program, the hospital wanted a speaker who would have more of an impact, Lewis said.

“We really thought Elizabeth Smart just had the most compelling, encouraging and most powerful story,” Lewis said. “She talks about her childhood growing up and then kind of what happened, how she got abducted. She does a beautiful job of describing what happened without getting into the gruesome details.”

In June 2002, Brian David Mitchell broke into the Smart family home and kidnapped Smart at knifepoint. Hours later he had “married” her.

“I heard ‘I hearby seal you to me as my wife before God and all his angels,’” Smart said in a preview of the speech that she gives to groups nationwide.

After the “ceremony,” he proceeded to rape her, she said.

The man that Smart knew as “Emmanuel” — that’s what he’d called himself when he’d worked for the Smart family while he was homeless — not only manipulated her, but others, as well, Smart said. He was able to convince a police officer not to look at Smart’s face. He had convinced Smart, herself, that she wasn’t a worthy human being.

“It made me feel so worthless and so degraded, unclean and unworthy,” Smart said of Mitchell raping her. “How could my family ever love me after that? How could anyone, after that?”

Though it was her intention to leave and run back home as soon as night fell or Mitchell turned away from her, Smart said she felt locked in, trapped.

Now, however, Smart is recently married, works as an ABC News contributor and has helped start the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. The foundation has partnered with radKIDS, a Massachussetts-based program that teaches children how to react defensively to potential abductors or perpetrators. For example, the group notes that they try to teach children to project an attitude and vocalize, “How dare you touch me” rather than “Help me, help me” if they find themselves in dangerous situations.

WRMC has started talks with Weatherford ISD to see about bringing the radKIDS program to local students, Lewis said.

In the meantime, she expects that the 425 tickets to the event will likely sell out by the Sept. 25 event. There are about 100 tickets left right now, she said.

In addition to doctor booths at the health fair, which is free, there will be vendors selling clothing, handbags and more, Lewis said. An extra “freebie” will be tissues on the tables, as Smart’s inspirational and emotional story is sure to bring tears to participants’ eyes.

While Wanda Barzee serves time in a mental health facility — with an expected release date of 2016 — and Mitchell was sentenced to life in federal prison in 2011 after years of trial delays due to his being deemed incompetant to stand trial, Smart notes that she has been able to overcome this most devastaing life event.

“The most important piece of advice I’ve ever been given, throughout my whole experience, throughout my whole life was something my mother told me the day after I returned home,” Smart said. “He has taken nine months of your life that you will never get back but don’t let him another moment.”

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Animal shelter throwing a party

    The Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter made a promise to its staff, volunteers and rescues that if the shelter was able to achieve a 90 percent live release rate by the end of March, the shelter would throw a community-wide party to celebrate its accomplishments.

    April 16, 2014

  • Veterans Memorial Rendering.jpg Cabin fever

    Weatherford Parks and Recreation officials are looking to renovate two areas to make them more user friendly.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0416 loc WISD new HR director.jpg Chapman named WISD’s new Human Resources director

    Members of the Weatherford ISD Board of Trustees last week approved Monty Chapman as the district’s new executive director of Human Resources.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Parker County man killed in single-vehicle wreck

    A 60-year-old Parker County man was killed around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in a one-vehicle crash in the 2100 block of FM Road 3325, also known as Farmer Road.

    April 15, 2014

  • IMG_6890.jpg WC’s new Allied Health Building nears completion

    Construction crews are in high swing as the completion date for Weatherford College’s new Don Allen Allied Health Building nears.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • easter eggs.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: Enjoy Easter eggs safely

    Eggs have been used to celebrate spring festivals for centuries. Immigrant settlers brought symbolic Easter rabbits and colored eggs to America. Since then, Easter egg hunts have been beloved by children everywhere.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • VETERANS’ CORNER: Women on subs? Navy exploring the possibility

    The United States Navy is surveying enlisted women and to gauge those interested in volunteering for submarine force duty.

    April 13, 2014

  • Biz Index 1.jpg A Little Bit of Everything

    Kris Hurley and Natalie Mynar know a “Little Bit of Everything.” They should, as it’s their business to.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • MILLSAP MATTERS: Log Cabin Days approaches

    MILLSAP – With the spring temperatures, folks around here are preparing for one of the biggest yearly events that our whole community comes together around. Many plans are in the works for the Millsap Log Cabin Day Festival.

    April 13, 2014

  • 0413 loc master gardener Aphids.jpg ASK A MASTER GARDENER: More aphids, more problems

    Aphids are tiny insects that congregate on the bottom side of leaves and suck the fluid out of your plants. Almost every plant has one or more aphid species that occasionally feed on it.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Poll

The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

Yes
No
Undecided
Don't care
     View Results