Staff Sergeant Jorge Roman, U.S. Army
Currently serving at: Fort Stewart, Georgia
Children: 2 daughters, age 9 and 8 (and expecting another)
Nominated by: Priscilla Roman
Watch Roman Finalist Video >>
> Describe Ssgt Roman's ongoing commitment and dedication to his children.
For starters, I believe that Jorge is an outstanding father to our two girls, and I know he is going to be just as great to our little girl on the way. My father was not around while I was a child, and I dreamed of a father like my husband is to our girls. Jorge believes that the best way to mentor and love your children is to be hands-on with them and just love them. Let them know that they are safe with him, and this they feel very much. I couldn't agree with him more. He is committed to teaching the girls something daily whether through reading, crafts, or an educational video. He has such a positive bubbly personality that the dullest subjects becoming interesting to the girls. Even in everyday life situations, he tries to make a learning experience for them, especially at parks or anywhere that nature is involved. He can talk their ears off about that stuff, and the girls just eat it up. They may be these adorable little girls in their dresses and girly attire, but they are just so precious when they examine bugs, animals, and plants with their Daddy. On any given weekend, you can stop by my home and see Jorge and the girls doing some type of art craft together. Even during the week, they just start doodling away on any random paper to tell a story. We are a fitness-minded home as well, and one of the girls favorite activities with their Dad is a good old fashion bike ride. Granted, I am the primary parent with the girls since I stay home with them. With that said, Jorge strives daily to give each girl their individual time with him and both together as well. It could be such simple things as setting the table or bathing the dogs together. What they do together is not the point, it's the fact that after a crazy busy day Daddy takes time to talk, interact, and bond with them. As a child that grew up without a father, I believe this shows so much commitment and dedication to the girls. There is nothing more warm feeling then knowing that your Daddy believes in you and loves you, and this is what Jorge does for our sweet little girls.
> Describe Ssgt Roman’s extraordinary efforts to father from a distance during military separation.
Fathering from a distance is a very hard task, but yet Jorge has successfully done it for years. When the girls were younger it was a little harder, but now thanks to modern technology it gets easier. I would have to say though, besides Skype, we pretty much do it the same. Before Jorge leaves whether for a few days or fifteen months, he always talks to girls beforehand to do his best, age appropriately, to prepare them for why he has to go. I really feel this helps. The girls have great pride in what their Daddy is doing. Prior to leaving he also writes them letters for me to give them once he leaves. Throughout the time that he is away, the letters continue to all of us individually. The girls each get emails from him as well. They love coming home after school and reading his emails. Of course, if his job permits, we take advantage of video chats as much as possible. Something we do daily here at home is tuck the girls into bed by reading a book or singing a song. While gone, if mission permits, Jorge is right there with me, through technology, tucking the girls into bed. Sometimes it just might be him on speaker phone singing to them, but it puts such a smile on the girls' faces. Even in such lonesome times with him gone, it's those routines that make it feel like he is still home with us. The girls also get a kick out of his videos. Jorge records himself reading them a book, and then mails them and the video to us. It makes checking the mail so fun. The girls love it, and there is always a note in the book. I remember when the girls were real little his DVD would stay in the player. They would watch him over and over again. He also tries to call before they leave for school to wish them well for the day. Like mentioned before, art is important to Jorge and the girls. He sends them all types of paintings for them. The girls enjoy shopping for his art supplies with me, and sending him our art pieces as well. I am not an artist like my husband, but my girls do their best not to judge me. During separation, we do our best to keep Jorge and the girls engaged with each other. With our recordings, phone calls, video chats, and projects we have survived many deployments and schools.
> Describe Ssgt Roman's efforts to successfully balance military life and family life.
Balancing military life and family life is a daily effort for Jorge. Recently, Jorge just made a change to help him with his balance. We made the decision to move on post to give him more opportunity to be home. It sounds silly, but it has really helped with the balance. After PT (physical training), Jorge does his best to take the girls to school, and if he can not, he calls them before school. At dinner time or other family moments, his phone goes on silent or turned off. One thing the girls absolutely love is going to his office. If for some reason he has to go in on the weekends or what not, he takes the girls with him. Yes, he can get his task done quicker without them, but if it's not dangerous for them, why not. The girls really enjoy going, and drawing pictures on his board. After all, it's about creating positive memories for them. I think his biggest key to balancing is just giving the girls his time. As soon as Jorge comes home, the phone goes down, and he gives his attention to the girls. After some time together, he will return to the phone to ensure he has not missed anything important. Yes, the girls and I understand that when duty calls he has to respond, but he does a great job of giving the girls their time as well.
> Describe Ssgt Roman's efforts to mentor/strengthen other military fathers and/or military children who are separated from their fathers.
There is one family in particular that comes to my mind with this question. Jorge has always tried to encourage his peers to be actively involved with their children. This one particular family though is a little different. The mother is active duty with four children and there are three different fathers, none of which are involved with the children. These children have no father and a mother who is busy with her career. Jorge goes out of his way to do little things for them as well. If he picks up the girls from school, he will give them a ride home so they are not walking in the cold. We make dinner for them, and give them time to play with our children to let them just be kids. Overall, Jorge just talks to them like he does ours. If we are at a park or something, he will toss a ball with the boy. Most of all just to be present, and show a positive male model.
> Are there any unique elements to Ssgt Roman's story that make him stand out?
Nowadays there are more and more broken homes, and especially in the military community. Jorge just truly loves his family, and will do anything for them. In this day and age this is a unique quality. It's easy for soldiers to get caught up in their careers and leave their family to the side. We see this daily, and it's sad that my children have more friends from divorced families than those who have their mother and father in one home. What I think that makes my husband unique is that he strives daily to strengthen his relationship with me and his children. We do not believe we are perfect, and we are always open to learning more. Jorge is first generation in America, and did not grow up with a lot of money. What he did get though that is so valuable is family morals and he had loving parents who wanted their children to have the opportunity of the American dream. I believe this is what he is handing down to our children by spending valuable time with them, and raising them to be an attribute to society.