A friend at work recently told new father Will Settle to drive toward Savannah, turn around and come back to Bluffton.
There’s a surprise there for you, Settle was told.
“I had an idea what it was going to be,” said Settle, head of sales for Marlin Outdoor Advertising. “We have a lot of billboards in that area.”
Only one, though, with his new daughter’s face on it.
“Welcome to the World CARTER LOUISE SETTLE,” it says, white lettering on a pink background. You’ll find it in Hardeeville’s Levy community off S.C. 315, near the home of Ashley Fields.
“They started working on it two or three days ago,” Fields said Monday as she was about to pull out of her driveway onto the road. “They change it, like, once or twice a month. ... It’s just eye-catching. That face: she is cute. And that name!”
“Carter” was picked because it’s a strong name, Settle, 38, said. “Louise” was inspired by a woman who used to take care of his wife — Kelen Settle, 35, a vice president with Charleston’s South City Public Relations — when she was a child.
According to Settle, Carter Louise is the first girl born into the Settle family in 137 years.
“So you can imagine my mother is ecstatic,” Settle said. “So fired up.”
She’s the couple’s first child together.
She was born at Coastal Carolina Hospital at 7:51 p.m. June 25. She weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and is currently pictured on a 60-pound vinyl poster affixed to the 12-foot-tall, 24-foot-wide billboard.
It took a three-man crew to hang the poster.
Marlin has 900 billboards in Georgia and South Carolina, said Settle, who has lived in the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton area for the past 15 years.
His sales route takes him north to Rock Hill and west to Statesboro, Ga., and points in between.
Which means, at least for while, he’ll get to see more of his new daughter’s face.
Because she’s in his territory.