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NFI Presents 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ to RPC Patrick Mondragon

RPC Mondragon Chosen From Among Hundreds of Nominees to Receive Prestigious Annual Award for an Exemplary Military Dad

At a ceremony this morning at the Third Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) presented the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ to RPC Patrick Mondragon, US Navy.

rpc mondragon navyMondragon, a husband and father of two, had to act as a solo parent during his wife’s recent life-threatening health complications. During that time, he cared for his wife and children while continuing to fulfill his military duties. In a display of amazing work-family balance, he recorded over 20 videos of himself reading stories to his children so that they could see and hear him while he was onboard the USS Bunker Hill and forward deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In addition to caring for his own family, he dedicates himself to supporting other military families. As a religious program specialist on his base, he counsels dads and families on handling the challenges of military life. He was also the United through Reading Program Coordinator on the USS Bunker Hill, helping hundreds of dads stay connected to their children while deployed.

One of RPC Mondragon’s fellow sailors said, “I am not surprised that RPC Mondragon was selected. He is absolutely the father, man, sailor, RPC of the year, every year, in my book. I wish him and his family the best and I am so proud to serve along side of Patrick in the sea services.”

Earlier this year, NFI received hundreds of nominations for the Military Fatherhood Award™ from the wives, children, friends, and colleagues of our nation’s military dads, and then narrowed them down to four exemplary finalists, including RPC Mondragon.

The four finalists’ families then submitted home videos of why they thought their dad should be the recipient of the award. From mid-April to mid-May, the public was able to choose the recipient of the award by visiting National Fatherhood Initiative’s Facebook page and casting their votes for their favorite of the four finalists.

In RPC Mondragon’s video, his wife, Violet, said, “Patrick is so deserving of this award, and I can’t think of anyone more qualified for the Military Fatherhood Award™.”

The three other finalists were Maj. Kevin Billups, U.S. Air Force; Ssgt Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps; and Ssgt Jorge Roman, U.S. Army.

nfi logo

Each year, the Military Fatherhood Award™ is given to a military dad who displays an ongoing commitment and dedication to his children, makes extraordinary efforts to father from a distance when deployed, successfully balances military and family life, and makes an effort to mentor other military fathers and/or military children who are separated from their fathers.

Several past Military Fatherhood Award™ recipients have been officially recognized by the White House. The 2012 awardee, 1st Lieutenant William Edwards of the U.S. Army, had lunch with President Obama and received his award at a “Champions of Change” event at the White House on June 13, 2012.

In addition to the award, NFI supports the U.S. Military as its #1 provider of fatherhood-specific resources. NFI has distributed nearly 300,000 fatherhood skill-building materials to bases all over the world for all five branches, and has trained family support services on how to deliver our numerous fatherhood curricula and programs.

The sponsors of the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ are Huggies®, Nissan USA, Acumen Solutions, Inc, Sandy Cove Ministries, and Boy Scouts of America.

Connect with The Father Factor by RSSFacebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor. 

25 Tips for Being a Great Dad

The following is a post from RPC Patrick Mondragon, US Navy, recipient of NFI's 2013 Military Fatherhood Award. Interested in blogging for us? Email here.

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  1. Try to eat dinner together as a family as often as possible. I always try to make sure that I’m home by dinner and we all eat together, almost always. There are occasions where I’ll have to work late, but we try not to make that a norm. And when we eat dinner, we turn off the television and spend good quality time talking about our days.
  2. Take at least one day off from work each month. Use this day to take and pick up your kids from school. You can also use the time while your kids are in school as a date-day for you and your wife. See a movie, have lunch together, go shopping, etc.
  3. Take at least one family vacation each year. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but more deliberate. Be faithful about this.
  4. Spend one-on-one time with your kids. Have a Father-Son day, or Father-Daughter day. Try to get each child one-on-one though. This allows you to learn more about your children, allows them to open up to you, and makes them feel special.
  5. Turn chores into family time. Let your kids help you wash your car, take them on errand trips to go pick up your dry cleaning or get groceries. Involve them in the process. 
  6. Get Outdoors. Do fun things outdoors. Take the family camping, go swimming, play sports or go for a bike ride.
  7. Make sure you deposit enough into the “family bank account.” I’m not talking about money, although that helps too. What I’m talking about is the emotional bank account. We all know that being in the military means deployments and time away from our families. This is what I call making a “withdrawal” because it takes away from the family. These withdrawals are often unavoidable and there is nothing we can do about them. We can, however, make plenty of deposits so that we don’t end up in the negative. By deposits, I mean spending quality time with the family, telling them you love them, leaving them sticky notes, taking your kids to school, spending quality time with your spouse. You never want to be in the negative, but rather the positive.
  8. Make time for your spouse. This is so important because if you and your spouse are not in sync and are not truly happy, your children will definitely notice. Don’t think you can keep it from them, they notice everything! They are so observant. It’s important to make investments for your spouse as well, and get quality time with your husband/wife. Have a mini vacation, attend a marriage enrichment retreat together, go away for the weekend and arrange for someone you know and trust to watch your children. This will pay dividends in your marriage and will keep the love alive.
  9. Give plenty of encouragement to your children. Assure them they are doing well, compliment them when they do something right, reward them when they deserve it. Make them feel special, appreciated and important. This also builds their sense of security and confidence.
  10. Laugh often. Tell funny jokes, tickle your kids, play fun games or sports. Don’t be so serious all the time. Of course, there is a time and place for everything, but by having a sense of humor and laughing often, you help your kids feel secure. This also helps them develop many things like sense of humor, gift of gab, public speaking and more.  
  11. Take your kids to work. Try this at least once. Let them visually see where you work and what you do. Give them a tour of your base, including your office. Introduce them to fellow employees. This helps your children understand what exactly it is that mommy or daddy does during the day.  
  12. Be involved. Know when your daughter has a report due, how they did at tennis practice, which of their friends made them upset or hurt their feelings that day, how they like their teacher, etc. Be active in their school.  
  13. Attend Important Events. Examples would be your kids Open House night, school field trip, back to school picnic, award ceremonies where they are recognized, first day of school, speech or spelling contest, school sport championships or big games. The list could go on, but I think you get the idea.  
  14. Read a bedtime story to your kids. Now I understand that there is a time limit for this, and you probably won’t be reading them bedtime stories after they are 11 or 12 years old. But when they are young this is so important. For one, it’s great bonding time. For two, it makes them feel special. Three, it’s a great way to end the evening and four, it develops their reading skills and can make them enjoy reading. As your kids grow older, instead of reading them books, you can spend 5-10 minutes talking with them before they go to bed. Lay in bed with them for a bit. Ask them about their day.     
  15. Learn together. Take your kids to museums, historical landmarks, nature centers, zoos and more. Make it a point to learn one or two new facts about something you didn’t know before.   
  16. Make videos for your kids. This is mainly for when you dads are deployed. Make a few recordings even before you leave on deployment. For example, if you know that you are going to be deployed over Christmas, or Easter, or your kids birthday, make a video recording for this special event ahead of time, and then you can have your wife play it for your kids at the appropriate time. Buy special books to match the occasion and you can read those books to them. Take advantage of the United Through Reading program while you are deployed. If you really want to get the full-circle effect, have your wife videotape the kids watching your video, and then send that back to you. Then you can see their reactions to your recordings. We did this when I was deployed on the ship, and it was so rewarding.  
  17. Tell your family you love them. Do this often! And don’t stop there by just telling them, SHOW THEM as well!  
  18. Randomly buy something for them. This is fun and they will love it. It doesn’t have to be something expensive. My son Adam loves paper airplanes and things that fly through the air. The other day while taking them to the Flying Leatherneck Museum at MCAS Miramar, I saw these cool flyers where you spin them in the air and watch them fly. They were only $3 each, so I got one for each child. My daughter loves flavored chapstick, so sometimes I’ll go to the store and pick out a few new fun flavors for her, like Dr. Pepper, or Orange Cream. She loves that. She also loves to write, so while at the Dollar Store, I found a journal and some cool pens, and brought those back for her. She loved that as well.   
  19. Read the "Five Love Languages" and "Five Love Languages for Kids".  These books are a great investment and help you learn the “language” of both your spouse and your kids. Everybody has a different love language.  What is your kids love language? As a matter of fact, most military Chaplains order these books, or can order them through the command supply system, and then you won’t even have to pay for them. I know that we keep several copies of this great book at my command.  
  20. Make fun traditions for your family. A few years back, I started this cool Christmas tradition in my family that was never done when I was little.  We call it the 25 days of Christmas activities. I make a Christmas activity calendar and have my kids help me. We pick out something to do every day from December 1st all the way up to Christmas Day. I like to incorporate activities and sight-seeing. Some of our favorites are making marshmallow snowmen, something I call the pillow surprise where I place a little present under their pillow, watch a Christmas movie with popcorn, hot cocoa by the fire, drive around looking at Christmas lights, listen to Christmas music while decorating the tree and more. This is so fun and our family really enjoys it. Another fun tradition we have is to have breakfast for dinner at least once per month. We will make waffles, bacon, pancakes with whip cream and all their favorite toppings, etc. Also, usually once a month we will let the kids each pick out what they want for dinner that night and will make it for them. My daughter loves sushi, so I’ll buy her some sushi. My son loves macaroni and cheese so I’ll make that for him.   
  21. Play board games. These are great family-time things. My kids love monopoly. We like to make popcorn or have cookies and milk while we sit around the living room. We’ll have like a mini indoor picnic while we play. I’ll even get out my iPhone and put on music so we can jam out while playing. They love to do this. Recently, we bought the Monopoly City WII game. That’s really fun.  
  22. Practice your faith. That old saying “A family that prays together, stays together” is still true today. Teach your kids how to pray, say grace before a meal, teach them about the bible. I realize this may not be for everyone, but for those who have a faith, practice it. What better way to build values in your children which they in turn will model for their future families some day.  
  23. Teach/Model Etiquette. I always make it a point to open the car door for my wife so that my kids can see what a gentleman should do. I also open the car door for my daughter Olivia, and then I tell her that a real man/gentlemen should do the same for her as well. I teach my son Adam by asking him to help me open the doors for my wife and daughter when we go to restaurants or to stores. Then both of them learn. We practice etiquette by asking one another politely to "please pass the salt or napkins". We have them each put their own plates in the sink, they ask to be excused from the table and they make sure that everyone has a napkin before we eat.   
  24. Let your kids plan out their day. Some weekends I’ll have both of my kids make a list of the top three things they want to do that day. Then we will compile the list, and start from the top. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive either. For example, the other weekend when we did this: my son Adam’s top three things were to draw together, play monopoly and go for a bike ride. My daughter Olivia’s was to play tag, watch a movie with popcorn and make homemade pizza for dinner. It was a busy but fun-packed day and we did all of those things. While I did this with the kids, my wife was able to go out and get a mani/pedi and have some nice “alone” time. This gave her a much-needed break and everyone had a good day. Then at the end, we all came together for dinner.   
  25. Plan surprise events. This is a great way to switch things up. Fortunately, we live in San Diego where there are tons of things to do and places to go. Every once in awhile, we will surprise our kids by taking them somewhere fun. When they wake up in the morning, we’ll tell them “hurry up and get ready, we are going to Sea World.” They get so excited and it makes for such a fun day.   

Well, that was my list of “Tips” for being a great dad, and how to maximize time with your family whenever you can. I hope you enjoyed reading these. Even more, my hope is that you might incorporate some of these things into your family routine. Take care and “GO GET EM DADS!

What would you add to this list?

NFI Honors Military Dads! Vote Before Midnight May 17th!

NFI's Vince DiCaro talks about how you can pick the winner of the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award. Vote for your favorite finalist before Friday, May 17!

 Can't view the video? Visit Fox News Live for full video

Vince DiCaro was interviewed yesterday on Fox News Live and discussed our 2013 Military Fatherhood Award Finalists. As Vince points out, we have four amazing finalists: 

mondragonChief Petty Officer Patrick Mondragon, U.S. Navy.

  • Currently serving at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California
  • Father of two kids, daughter age 9 and son age 8

His wife became very ill recently. He became a sole parent for their children. He took care of his wife and children all while serving our country. Get parenting tips from CPO Mondragon here.
 

romanStaff Sergeant Jorge Roman, U.S. Army.

  • Currently serving at Fort Stewart, Georgia
  • Father of two daughters, ages 9 and 8, and expecting another

He is a first-generation immigrant. His parents worked hard to see their son build a life here and he is a great example of service. Get parenting tips from SSgt Roman here



 

linvilleStaff Sergeant Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps.

  • Currently serving at Balboa Naval Medical Center Wounded Warrior Battalion in San Diego, CA
  • Father of two daughters, ages 5 and 2

He's a wounded warrier. Within 36 hours of having his leg amputated, we was cheering his daughter on at her karate class. Get parenting tips from SSgt Linville here.

billupsMajor Kevin Billups, U.S. Air Force.

  • Currently serving at Tyndale AFB, FL
  • Father of three children

He recorded himself reading to his children so that when he was deployed his children would know how much he loved them. Get parenting tips from Major Billups here


Pick your favorite finalist and vote before tomorrow at midnight!

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Parenting Tips Inspired by Military Fatherhood Award Finalist CPO Patrick Mondragon

The end of voting for our 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalists is fast approaching. If you haven't had a chance to watch the videos of the four finalists and vote for your favorite, check it out on Facebook now!

This week, we're shining the spotlight on CPO Patrick Mondragon with some tips from his experience as a dad that you can apply in your own family.

Chief Petty Officer Patrick Mondragon, U.S. Navy

  • CPO Patrick Mondragon, Military Fatherhood Award finalistCurrently serving at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California
  • Father of two kids, daughter age 9 and son age 8

Read CPO Mondragon's nomination

Tip 1) Spend one-on-one time with each child
In addition to spending time as a family, CPO Mondragon spends one-on-one time with both his son and his daughter. He takes his daughter to an annual Father-Daughter Dance, goes on field trips with the children's classrooms, and does other special things with both kids. Remember that each of your children need different things from you as a dad. Make a commitment to spend regular one-on-one time with each kid.

Tip 2) Make special days memorable for your kids
Before deploying, CPO Mondragon recorded videos his kids could watch on Valentine's Day, Christmas, their first day of school, or when they've had a bad day. He also creates a countdown activity calendar leading up to Christmas. Think about creative traditions you can add to your family's holidays. And don't forget to recognize the other big moments in your child's life, like losing the first tooth, starting school, or making the varsity team.

Tip 3) Make family dinners a priority
CPO Mondragon gets to work an hour early so that he can make sure he's always home for dinner with his family. Not every family is able to have dinner together every night, but as much as you are able, take time to have a meal together. NFI has some great ideas for how to use family meals as a opportunity to connect with your kids.

Tip 4) Read with your children
While he was deployed, CPO Mondragon served as the United Through Reading coordinator to help the sailors record videos for their children of themselves reading books aloud so that the kids could still have their dad read to them even while he was gone. For most civilian dads, bedtime stories don't require a DVD player - just grab a book and sit down together! Check out NFI's suggestions for investing in your children through reading.

Tip 5) Be strong for your family in the challenging times
When his children were very young, CPO Mondragon's wife experienced a life-threating medical situation and was hospitalized for an extended period of time. He had to assume full responsibility for their two toddlers and take care of her - and continue to fulfill his military duties. Your family's challenges will be unique, but your hard work, leadership, and love are key to helping your kids feel secure and grow through the situation. 

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Parenting Tips Inspired by Military Fatherhood Award Finalist Ssgt Jorge Roman

We're in the last few days of voting for the Military Fatherhood Award! Make sure you vote everyday for your favorite finalist! Each dad has great stories and we are grateful for their service to our country.

Even if you're not in the military, you can be inspired in practical ways by our Military Fatherhood Award finalists. This week, we're featuring SSgt Jorge Roman.

Staff Sergeant Jorge Roman, U.S. Army

  • Ssgt Jorge Roman, Military Fatherhood Award finalistCurrently serving at Fort Stewart, Georgia
  • Father of two daughters, ages 9 and 8, and expecting another

Read Ssgt Roman's nomination

Tip 1) Make everyday experiences learning opportunities

The Roman family enjoys being outside, and Ssgt Roman is always looking for opportunities to teach his daughters about nature, bugs, and plants. He also shares his love for art with his daughters by painting and making crafts with them. A great way for you to bond with your kids is to share your interests and look for teachable moments in the daily activities of life.

Tip 2) End every day on a positive note

Ssgt Roman and his wife tuck the girls into bed every night by reading a story or singing a song together. Even when he was deployed, he joined the family for bedtime by telephone as often as he could. Depending on the age of your children, a bedtime story might not be your family's evening routine. And, there will be days when you have to discipline your children or when your teens want to assert their independence.  However, make a commitment to end every day on a positive note with your family. 

Tip 3) Turn the phone off for family time

Ssgt Roman turns his phone on silent or off during dinner and other family times. The family knows that sometimes he has to answer the call of duty, but he is committed to not letting work interrupt his time with his family. Check out NFI's tips on how to turn off your phone and establish balance between work and family.

Tip 4) Invest in other kids who need a father figure

One of Ssgt Roman's colleagues in the Army is a single mom with four children. Ssgt Roman brings her kids home from school when he picks up his daughters, invites the children to play with his kids, and tosses a ball around with the son. He makes an effort to be a positive male role model for these children. NFI calls this being a Double Duty Dad. You probably know kids whose dads are not as involved or are absent from their lives and can be a positive influence in their life in simple but profound ways.

Tip 5) Know what is really important to pass on to your kids

Ssgt Roman is a first generation American. He didn't grow up with a lot of money. He is passing on the "American dream" to his daughters with the emphasis not on material things but on spending time as a family and instilling good values. As a dad, know that your relationship with your family is the real legacy you pass on.

 

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Parenting Tips Inspired by MFA Finalist Ssgt Charlie Linville

As we encourage you to vote for our 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ finalists through May 12th, we're sharing tips inspired by the finalists that you can us with your family, even if you aren't in the military.

This week, we hightlight Ssgt Charlie Linville.

MFA13 Linville5 good resized 600Staff Sergeant Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps

  • Currently serving at Balboa Naval Medical Center Wounded Warrior Battalion in San Diego, CA
  • Father of two daughters, ages 5 and 2

Read Ssgt Charlie Linville's nomination

Tip 1) Connect with Your Kids Through Challenges.
Ssgt Linville sustained injuries in Afghanistan and had his right leg amputated, yet that hasn't stopped him from playing with his daughters, taking them to fun places, and being involved in their extracurricular activities. His experience is not something most dads have to deal with, but you have other obstacles that can make it challenging to interact with your children. Whether those challenges are physical, geographical, or related to busy schedules, make an intentional choice to put your kids first and invest time with them, even if other factors make that difficult.

Tip 2) Communication is Vital.
While deployed, Ssgt Linville used modern technology such as Skype to stay connected with his daughters, but he also mailed them hand-written letters and brought them home gifts from his deployment. You can do the same thing while business traveling. Those real indications of your love will mean everything to your kids!

Tip 3) Model persistence and Hard Work.
Despite his injuries and daily pain, Ssgt Linville chooses to smile and spend time with his daughters doing their favorite activities. Linville understands the importance of teaching his daughters that they can accomplish anything in life. Your example of handling obstacles and difficulties will leave an impression on your kids and will prepare them to take on challenges with a good attitude.

Tip 4) Serve Your Community.
Ssgt Linville spends time talking with kids who are struggling with their dads' deployment and invests in other wounder warriors and their families, even through something as simple as babysitting their children. As a dad, your unique experiences will equip you to encourage and help other kids, dads, and families. Don't discount the impact of inviting another child to join your family for an activity or offering childcare for a couple who needs a night out.

Tip 5) Value Every Moment.
Because of Ssgt Linville's combat experiences and injuries, he knows that life is short and he makes sure to hug his daughters just a little longer every day. Even if your family never faces a life-threatening situation like military combat, your kids will grow up all too fast. Fathering is a challenging journey, but make the most of the time you have right now and enjoy every moment. Get those hugs in early and often!

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Parenting Tips Inspired by MFA Finalist Major Kevin Billups

NFI invites the nation to help select the 2013 recipient of the Military Fatherhood Award™ by voting for our four finalists on Facebook. These dads are inspirational examples of involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood and we are grateful for their service to the country.

As we encourage people to vote for the finalists over the next four weeks, we'll share practical tips inspired by the finalists that you can apply with your child. This week, we're shining the spotlight on Major Kevin Billups.

billups resized 600Major Kevin Billups, U.S. Air Force 

  • Currently serving at Tyndale AFB, FL
  • Father of three children

Read Maj. Billups' nomination page

#1 Get involved in your child's activities.
Major Billups serves as a Cub Scout leader in his son's troop. He helps his son learn the material in the Cub Scout handbook and work toward the achievements required for advancement. Being involved in your child's activities allows you to spend more time with your child, get to know your child's friends, and encourage your child to develop skills and interests. Whether it's a Scout troops, sports team, school or church activities, or other extracurricular activities, take an extra hour a week to be part of something your child is doing.

#2 Find ways to connect with your child.
When Major Billups was deployed, his son packed his favorite toy dinosaur in his dad's luggage. Maj. Billups took the dinosaur on all his flights and sent pictures home of the dinosaur accompanying him throughout the day. The dinosaur gave his son a fun way to see what Dad did while he was away. If you travel for work, you can do something similar. No matter what your job entails, find fun ways for your child to identify with what you do on a daily basis.

#3 Involve your child in household chores.
As is the case with most families, much of the Billups time is spent apart at work and school. Maj. Billups involves the kids in everday tasks and chores so that they can spend more time together. This also enables him to teach the kids responsibility. Your kids, no matter how old they are, can also help around the house. Identify age-appropriate tasks that your child can do or find ways to let him help you in your projects.

#4 Share your fathering experience with other dads.
Maj. Billups is an instructor for fathering classes that teach new dads how to support their pregnant wives and care for their newborn children. You don't have to teach a fathering class to pass on your experience to other dads. Take a younger dad out for coffee and talk about your fathering journeys. (NFI has a resource for mentoring other dads or fatherless children - check out the Double Duty Dad™ Guide.)

#5 Spend time together outside
Maj. Billups enjoys sharing his love of the outdoors with his children. They go fishing, gardening, build makeshift tee-pees, and other activities he enjoyed as a child. The family also captures their adventures by taking photographs. As much as you can, turn off the TV and get your family together outside.

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Vote for the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award Winner!

Every year, National Fatherhood Initiative celebrates military fathers and families through our Military Fatherhood Award™.  We get hundreds of nominations and after narrowing down to four finalists, we turn to the American people to help us select an Awardee by voting on Facebook

Our finalists are going above and beyond in staying involved in their children's lives, despite the challenges of military life, and they are an inspiration to us.  We hope they'll inspire and encourage you too!

Ssgt Charlie Linville, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award FinalistSsgt Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps - a combat veteran and Wounded Warrior, Ssgt Linville insisted on attending his daughter's first karate competition the day after having his leg amputated and continues to plan activites with his daughters, despite daily pain.



CPO Patrick Mondragon, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistCPO Patrick Mondragon, U.S. Navy - CPO Mondragon was effectively a solo parent while caring for his wife and kids - and continuing to fulfill his military duties - during a life-threatening health complication his wife experienced. 

 


Ssgt Jorge Roman, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistSsgt Jorge Roman, U.S. Army - a first-generation American, Ssgt Roman is fulfilling the American dream for his children, teaches them art and fitness, and has continued to parent his daughters during overseas deployments.

 


Maj. Kevin Billups, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistMaj. Kevin Billups, U.S. Air Force - leaving for his eighth deployment in a few weeks, Maj. Billups is not only an involved father to his three children, he teaches other new military dads how to prepare for fatherhood and care for their little ones.

 

You can watch the videos their families created and vote for your favorite finalist on NFI's Facebook page.  Voting opens on Monday April 15 and closes on Sunday May 15.  You can vote once every 24 hours.

We're excited to introduce these wonderful dads as outstanding examples of fatherhood and to honor them for their service to the country.

Share this blog with other collegues and associates working in the fatherhood field!

Help us select the 2013 recipient of the Military Fatherhood Award!

Every year, National Fatherhood Initiative celebrates military fathers and families through our Military Fatherhood Award™.  We get hundreds of nominations and after narrowing down to four finalists, we turn to the American people to help us select an Awardee by voting on Facebook

Our finalists are going above and beyond in staying involved in their children's lives, despite the challenges of military life, and they are an inspiration to us.  We hope they'll inspire and encourage you too.

Ssgt Charlie Linville, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award FinalistSsgt Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps - a combat veteran and Wounded Warrior, Ssgt Linville insisted on attending his daughter's first karate competition the day after having his leg amputated and continues to plan activites with his daughters, despite daily pain.


CPO Patrick Mondragon, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistCPO Patrick Mondragon, U.S. Navy - CPO Mondragon was effectively a solo parent while caring for his wife and kids - and continuing to fulfill his military duties - during a life-threatening health complication his wife experienced.


Ssgt Jorge Roman, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistSsgt Jorge Roman, U.S. Army - a first-generation American, Ssgt Roman is fulfilling the American dream for his children, teaches them art and fitness, and has continued to parent his daughters during overseas deployments.

Maj. Kevin Billups, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistMaj. Kevin Billups, U.S. Air Force - leaving for his eighth deployment in a few weeks, Maj. Billups is not only an involved father to his three children, he teaches other new military dads how to prepare for fatherhood and care for their little ones.

You can watch the videos their families created and vote for your favorite finalist on NFI's Facebook pageVoting opens on Monday April 15 and closes on Sunday May 15.  You can vote once every 24 hours.

We're excited to introduce these wonderful dads as outstanding examples of fatherhood and to honor them for their service to the country.

Connect with The Father Factor by RSSFacebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor.

Nominate a dad for the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award!

Military Fatherhood Award: Honoring Military Fathers and Families
Every year, National Fatherhood Initiative honors a military dad who goes above and beyond in his service to the nation and his responsibility as a dad.

NFI's Military Fatherhood Award™ recognizes and celebrates a dad who:

  • demonstrates ongoing dedication to his children
  • puts in extraordinary effort to stay connected with his kids
  • successfully balances his military duties and family life
  • invests in other military fathers and children

If you know a great military dad, nominate him for the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ today!  Nominations close on Monday February 4 at 12:00 p.m. EST, and we can only accept the first 600 nominations, so submit yours quickly!  (See Terms and Conditions to answer most questions about the award program.)

Share this blog post using the buttons at the top of the post to let other military friends and family know about this opportunity to nominate their dad or a dad they know!

 

Sponsors of the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award:
as of January 17, 2013

Protect and Defend Sponsors

Nissan USA   Acumen Solutions, Inc.

Supporting Friends

Boy Scouts of America

 

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Fathers, President Obama & BBQ!

Our 2012 Military Fatherhood Award recipient had a big day yesterday!

First Lt. William Edwards enjoyed an extra-special lunch yesterday with President Obama (Photo: ObamaFoodorama).Edwards and Obama

Edwards was then honored at The White House where NFI's President Roland Warren presented Lt. Edwards with his 2012 Military Fatherhood Award. Warren presented the award to Edwards at The White House "Champions of Change" event.

warren and edwardsThe USA Today reports, Obama salutes Father's Day with military lunch to honor Father's Day and the military.

Obama lunched with two serviceman and a pair of local barbers involved in the administration's campaign to promote better fatherhood.

"These guys are also young fathers, and they're doing great," Obama said during the lunch at the BBQ smokehouse in northeast Washington.

Obama said: "It turns out that with the father being involved, the kids are less likely to do drugs ... girls are less likely to get pregnant. And so that message is something that we want to make sure gets out there."

Watch video of the lunch here:

President Obama does well to point out that involved fathers matter. Absent fathers change everything. From incarceration and crime to teen pregnancy and childhood obesity (See Statistics on Father Absence).

Edwards is an example of an involved father. Lt. William (Bill) Edwards of the U.S. Army is the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award Winner.

Edwards is based at Fort Jackson in South Carolina where he lives with his wife of 13 years, Esther, and their four children. Lt. Edwards uses his musical and cinematic talents to stay connected with his four children before, during, and afterhis deployments. He was deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division Band in 2007-2008 for 14 months in Iraq.

Click here for more information on NFI's Fatherhood Award.

NFI Announces the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award Recipient!

describe the imageNFI received over 450 nominations from the wives, children, friends, and colleagues of our nation’s military dads. The votes are in and the public has picked its favorite dad...and the recipient of the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award™ is…Lt. William Edwards!

1st Lieutenant William Edwards of the U.S. Army serves at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and he uses his musical and cinematic talents to stay connected with his four children before, during, and after his deployments. He also helps other military dads stay connected to their children by making special effects filled action/comedy films with them they can send back home. Edwards is intentional in teaching his children the values they need to succeed in life.

Click here to watch Lt. Edwards’ home video, submitted by his wife and children, on why they think he was the best military dad!

Thank you and congratulations to all finalists -- Senior Airman Jonathan Jackson, U.S. Air Force and Lieutenant Dennis Kelly, U.S. Navy. Their bases, along with Lt. Edwards’ base, will receive a fully-stocked Fatherhood Resource Center kiosk from FatherSOURCE™, NFI’s fatherhood resource center.

Thanks to all the family, friends and fans who voted. Special thanks to Capital One, the lead sponsor of the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award™. Check out what they are doing for the military here.

Also, special thanks to Huggies for their sponsorship, in which they will donate a diaper to the National Diaper Bank Network for every vote we received for the award, along with thousands of diapers to the Lt. Edwards’ base.

Each year, NFI’s Military Fatherhood Award™ is given to a military dad who displays an ongoing commitment and dedication to his children, makes extraordinary efforts to father from a distance when deployed, successfully balances military and family life, and makes an effort to mentor other military fathers and/or military children who are separated from their fathers.

Please visit National Fatherhood Initiative for more details regarding the upcoming award ceremony for Lt. Edwards taking place before Father’s Day. 

NFI's Military Fatherhood Award Finalists Featured on HLN Morning Express with Robin Meade

mornexpress resized 600HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade (@Morn_eXpress) featured National Fatherhood Initiative’s Military Fatherhood Award Finalists on the show this morning.

Visit HLN's Morning Express to watch videos of each Military Fatherhood Award finalists.

Go directly to National Fatherhood Initiative's Facebook Page to vote for your favorite military father.

NFI Military Fatherhood Award Finalists To Be Featured on HLN

HLN resized 600Tomorrow morning HLN's Morning Express with Robin Meade will feature NFI's three Military Fatherhood Award finalists. The videos are scheduled to air during the hours of:

6am ET – 1st Lieutenant William Edwards, U.S. Army
7am ET – Lieutenant Dennis Kelly, U.S. Navy 
8am ET – Senior Airman Jonathan Jackson, U.S. Air Force

Tune in tomorrow to see each finalist and then visit National Fatherhood Initiative's Facebook page to vote for your favorite.

Military Fatherhood Award Finalists on Fox & Friends

fox-and-friendsThis Sunday morning at 9:20 am eastern, tune in to Fox & Friends on the Fox News Channel to see our three Military Fatherhood Award finalists interviewed live!

And remember to cast your vote for your favorite once a day, every day until May 25 on NFI's Facebook page.

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