First Lieutenant William Edwards, U.S. Army
From: Fort Jackson, South Carolina
Nominated by: Esther Edwards
Watch Edwards' Family Video >>
> Describe Lt. Edwards’ ongoing commitment and dedication to his children.
Musically, my husband dedicates himself to teaching our kids trumpet, drums, and bass guitar. He commandeered our family band “Eddies’ Experiment,” teaching each child their part and booking gigs for our band, bringing joy and confidence to the kids. Being a man of intention, he writes up lists of "things to teach the kids" from personal hygiene to the army rank system to how to pray. He also created a chore matrix for our family recently which outlines 4 job groupings to be rotated monthly, teaching them work ethic and responsibility. He takes my fish-loving son fishing, even though my husband is not good at it (and dislikes it intensely). He plans vacations with purpose, including one which sent us on a pirate treasure hunt!
> Describe Lt. Edwards’ extraordinary efforts to father from a distance during military separation.
My husband did an outstanding job keeping in contact with our children while deployed in Iraq in 2007-2008 for fourteen months. He wrote snail mail and email, chatted on webcam, sent photo discs, wrote poetry about each child, and made movies. He even tried to send us a stuffed camel spider, but it wouldn't get through customs. One occasion when my young boys happened upon an inappropriate website, he made the long walk to the phone tent to discuss the birds and the bees with them, long-distance from a war zone! He also created a DVD of himself reading them stories as well as “A Day With Daddy” so they could see what he did daily on the job. My children treasured those movies and would watch them every night to help them go to sleep. They meant the world to me as well.
> Describe Lt. Edwards’ efforts to successfully balance military life and family life.
When on task at his Basic Training Unit, he gives his all (and more) during the week, sometimes spending his own money to complete jobs, preparing for inspections, and jumping in to aid drill sergeants with training. He joins us for “family night” Fridays, one time putting the kids through a rigorous obstacle course - what a ball they had. Another time, we took a family PT test. He also throws the football around with the kids despite his tiredness, jumps on the trampoline, wrestles, or sword fights. He even manages to script, edit, and create complex movies that star the whole family, like “Billy Kwan Returns from the Dead” in which he plays an evil ninja and the kids (as well as Wonder Woman and Spiderman) defeat him. (Oh yes, he dressed up as a ninja in public, no qualms about it!)
> Describe Lt. Edwards' efforts to mentor/strengthen other military fathers and/or military children who are separated from their fathers.
When deployed with the 3rd Infanty Division Band in 2007-2008, he sent a flag that had flown over their HQ at Camp Victory to my daughter's preschool to thank them for their letters. He sent another class palm fronds for each child. Also, he helped other soldiers create home movies for their children. Additionally, he produced a Christmas DVD for each family of the deployed band soldiers away from families featuring Christmas music, messages from the deployed soldiers, and humorous skits. He and his colleague also scripted and produced “When Bandos Attack: Chuck Norris Jokes Gone Too Far." For their homecoming he created another photo and movie montage of the redeployment ceremony.
> Are there any unique elements to Lt. Edwards' story that make him stand out?
Lt. Edwards is a creative, dedicated, responsible, and entertaining man who uses his talents to connect with his children whether he’s here or deployed. He has created some amazing memories to not only share love his kids, but to bring delight to many other families enduring long separations. “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad” (Author Unknown) and I consider my husband to be one of the best military dads I’ve seen. Military life challenges families with long separations as well as unexpected surprises and hardships at every turn, but I’m glad my kids have a dad to guide them, love them, and to just get silly with them.