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The Dad Of The Month, April 2020: Joel Stetler

(Joel Stetler)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for April 2020: Joel Stetler. For the past 3 years, Joel has been living with a rare incurable cancer, teaching 3rd grade, coaching football and baseball, and giving 110% as a father to his 3 kids. Read his nomination submitted by his partner, Amanda:

(Joel Stetler)

“Joel is a father of 3, living with a rare incurable cancer. His disease is active, and has never been in remission. He works as a public school 3rd grade teacher, coaching football and baseball for the school in his spare time. He makes his own 3 kiddos his priority at home, despite the cancer treatments that leave him extremely fatigued.

(Joel Stetler)

Joel was diagnosed with cancer when the youngest of our 3 children was only 3 months old.  His prognosis wasn’t good, with statistics giving him a survival rate of 3-5% beyond 5 years.  His immediate reaction to those statistics and any like it has always been, “I have to make it that far. I have to make it beyond ‘that.’ That number. I have to make it to graduations, and weddings, and everything my kids need me to see.”

(Joel Stetler)

What makes Joel such an amazing dad is that he is PRESENT. He makes the most of every second with his kids, because every second is one he was not guaranteed. Maybe it’s spent jumping on the trampoline with them (their absolute favorite dad activity) despite feeling ill because of cancer meds.  Or it’s spent going on a run with his daughter so that she is in the best shape for cross country she can be, despite the fatigue and exhaustion from chemo.  Over the last four years his kids have grown up seeing their father be brave despite facing something scary.  At times I have told him he should rest or relax more, but his answer has always been, ‘I want the kids to know their dad didn’t waste the time that he had.  I want to make sure they always remember that they were the most important priority for me.’

(Joel Stetler)

This dad is the most amazing example to his kids on how to have a positive outlook on life, even amidst the most dire circumstances. He’s always smiling and never lets his disease steal the happiness he gets from serving his community and living his best life with his family.”

(Joel Stetler)

To honor Joel’s inner and outer strength and show appreciation for all he gives to his family and everyone in his life, we are sending $500 and special edition dad gear. With his bravery and love of life, Joel sets an example not just for his kids but everyone who has the privilege of hearing his story. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

The Dad Of The Month, March 2020: Matt Rispoli

(Matt Rispoli)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for March, 2020: Matt Rispoli. Matt serves his community as a police officer, his kids as an attentive, involved father, and recently fought a wolf who attacked his family while camping. Seriously. Matt is a real deal hero. His wife Elisa gushed about Matt in her nomination:

“Well, first off, The Dad actually featured my amazing husband, Matt, a few months ago because he is such an amazing dad (and badass). In August, our family was attacked by a Wolf while we were sleeping in our tent while camping on a family vacation in Banff, Canada. Matt put himself between the wolf and myself and our two young sons, fighting off the wolf despite suffering repeated bites. The attack lasted about 5 full minutes and while I screamed (bloody murder) for help, he continuously fought and pinned the wolf that was trying so desperately to have Matt for his dinner.

In addition to solidifying his position as our forever hero, Matt is the most hands on dad that I’ve ever seen. He takes our boys snowboarding, hikes the High Peaks mountain range in New York, and builds LEGO sets for hours on end.

Matt doesn’t just protect and inspire our family. He’s an amazing police officer that helps his community every day, frequently visiting elementary schools to have lunch with the kids.

He is so patient and loving to us all, and even though he was the one with the physical injuries from our traumatic experience, he’s been our family’s rock as we all healed and continue to heal from what happened to us. He is the GOAT in our opinion and deserves to be Dad of the damn year!”

To honor Matt’s utter badassery and loving commitment to his family and community, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. Matt’s courage and ferocity is what we all aspire to. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

The Dad Of The Month, February 2020: Luis Arcos

(Luis Arcos)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for February, 2020: Luis Arcos. Luis and his family have been through a lot, and Luis has been a  dedicated provider and unwavering source of love and support. Here is what his wife, Eva, had to say about him:

“Luis and I are parents of Moises and Ernesto. As a family we have been through so much. Luis has been our rock and the best father.

(Luis Arcos)

Luis has always been involved in our sons’ lives. I remember being home those first few weeks with Moises, losing my mind trying to breastfeed him all night, and Luis would get home in the morning after working all night and help me. He was there every day for us, from late night feedings, changing diapers, bedtime stories, and so much more. No matter how tired he was, Luis was there with help.

(Luis Arcos)

Our youngest, Ernesto, was born with Chromosome 18q- Syndrome. No parent plans for their child to have a chromosome anomaly. It was difficult to adjust, but Luis was determined to give Ernesto the best quality of life. Ernesto was constantly in and out of the hospital, spending countless hours at doctor and therapy appointments. Our city doesn’t have a local genetic specialist, so Luis drove many miles out of town to get Ernesto the care he needed. Many nights he’d stay up just to make sure Ernesto was okay.

(Luis Arcos)

In 2018, when Ernesto was 2, his chromosome anomaly ended up taking him away from us. We are still battling depression, but it hasn’t stopped Luis from being the best dad to our son Moises. He is present and truly there for him.

(Luis Arcos)

Any time we’ve struggled financially, Luis would find a way to get our family everything we needed. He even picked up general labor jobs to help with all the extra expenses. Currently, Luis is working one full-time and another part-time job as a healthcare provider, while going to college, and somehow still manages to be there for his family and others.

(Luis Arcos)

I know I’m biased, but in the 7 years I’ve known my husband, he has grown into the hardest working dad I know. I wouldn’t have been able to get through the obstacles we’ve faced as parents if he wasn’t there for us. I’m very proud of the man he is today and the man I know he will be.”

(Luis Arcos)

To recognize Luis’ devotion to his family, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. Throughout struggle and heartbreak, Luis has always put fatherhood first, and let his love for his family carry them through. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life!

The Dad Of The Month, January 2020: Andy McCall

(Andy McCall)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for January, 2020: Andy McCall. Andy wears a lot of hats: father, husband, coach, teacher, author, volunteer, advocate. No matter what role he’s in, Andy is giving his all and inspiring those around him. His wife Ellen shared their story with us:

“Andy and I are parents to Penelope and 1 year old twins, Scout and Maizie. We’ve been through many trials and tribulations since we became parents in 2014, when our daughter Penelope was born with a brain malformation and many special needs.

In 2016, Penelope passed away at 23 months old. Andy has always worked hard in his roles as a 2nd grade teacher and high school football coach, even when Penelope was in and out of the hospital. No matter how exhausted or stressed he was, Andy drove many miles at the end of his work day to be with Penelope, and give me a break. On many occasions he stayed all night, driving to work in the morning straight from the hospital. When we received Penelope’s cancer diagnosis in 2016, I flew with her to St. Jude while Andy drove across the state for 8 hours to meet us. Her cancer was too aggressive to treat, and we made the decision to spend her last month with us at home.

(Andy McCall)

I know I am biased, but Andy really tries to set an example for what a dad should be. I’m thankful every day that my children have the most amazing role model in their lives.”

(Andy McCall)

 

To honor Andy’s perseverance and recognize him as a shining light for others, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. There is more hope and love in the world because of Andy. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

The Dad Of The Month, December 2019: Greg Gottsch

(Greg Gottsch)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for December, 2019: Greg Gottsch. Greg’s experience as a father didn’t begin the way he anticipated, but every step of the way Greg has stepped up as a partner and parent. His wife, Amber, shared the following:

(Greg Gottsch)

“Our first child was born at 24 weeks, weighing 1lb 4oz. I had preeclampsia and would have died the night our son was born, but my husband was so worried he stayed awake to watch over me. As soon as I started seizing, he rushed me to the hospital where I had an emergency C-section. I was unconscious in ICU in critical condition while they explained to my husband that our son, Wyatt, would likely die but he could hold him while he passed. While I remained unconscious, Greg learned to pump my breast milk to feed our son in hopes of increasing his chance of survival. When I woke up, Greg carried me to finally meet Wyatt and he’s been carrying our family ever since.

(Greg Gottsch)

For the 6 months our son was in the NICU, Greg worked during the day, providing for us and ensuring I could be in the hospital with Wyatt. All the while he was working toward his bachelor’s degree, determined to give his family the best he could. It was physically and emotionally the most exhausting year of our lives. The hospital staff warned me that many relationships can’t withstand the stress we were faced with, that they often see men leave. But not Greg. Never once did he complain. He simply said, ‘this is fatherhood and I will do whatever it takes to take care of my son.’

(Greg Gottsch)

Greg stepped up to the plate of caring for a special-needs child, to being the sole provider, and to carrying our family through many more storms. We’ve since had another (full-term and healthy!) child and he has stepped up to the challenge again. Being a father is his greatest joy. In fact, we hope to become foster parents and offer a stable home to kids who need it, and I’m confident we can offer that because Greg is such a great daddy. I don’t know anyone who works harder or loves his kids more.

(Greg Gottsch)

The passion Greg has for fatherhood and for supporting men to embrace the role of dad is contagious. It’s what led him to following The Dad. I can’t think of anyone more incredible or deserving of being The Dad of the Month than Greg. He is the epitome of a great dad!”

(Greg Gottsch)

To recognize Greg’s perseverance and dedication to his family, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. From the very beginning, Greg has proven his outstanding commitment to the well-being of his wife and kids. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life!

The Dad Of The Month, November 2019: Tom Roderick

(Tom Roderick)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for November 2019: Tom Roderick. Tom is 2 years into his fight against Glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. Long before his diagnosis, Tom was taking on life’s ups and downs with an unrelenting bright spirit and heart full of gratitude. Read his daughter Rachel’s nomination below:

(Tom Roderick)

“My dad, Tom, known by many as TR, has a particularly brilliant sense of humor and unmatched charisma. Growing up, he would go out of his way to bring laughter and cheer into every room he visited, whether it be him walking out with a nylon on his head pretending to be an alien looking for his mothership or doing improvised comedy acts in strange wigs via FaceTime. On vacations my Dad would be the first person in the water and would be found rolling up in the waves of the tide, like a big kid. He taught me to not be timid and to find joy in the present. Beyond his sense of humor, he is a talented musician and artist, playing both the keyboard and the guitar. As a child, I have strong memories of him and his band playing in our basement. The Grateful Dead’s song ‘Shakedown Street’ became the soundtrack to my earliest years.

(Tom Roderick)

When I was a year old, he decorated a playhouse cardboard box, where he painted gorgeous iris flowers on the outside. Upon seeing his remarkable talent, my mom immediately went out and purchased him a set of paints. Since that day he has been an artist selling pieces around the world. Together we have always created art and played music; he inspired me to play the violin and join the youth symphony. He taught me how to gesso canvases and mix paint to get the right color pigment. Countless hours have been spent listening to music and looking at and making art together. He also encouraged me to test my stamina in sports and running, making it to all of my cross country meets.

(Tom Roderick)

As I’ve grown older, he’s taught me the importance of gratitude and looking for an underlying purpose in any situation. I have an extraordinary relationship with my Dad that has always been intentional and full of love; I have always considered him to be my best friend. I think the depth of the relationship we share directly relates to his relationship with his father, whom we all lovingly called Jimpa. Both my Dad and Jimpa have brought so much happiness into people’s lives.

(Tom Roderick)

In a span of 3 years, my Dad lost his mother, older brother, and Jimpa, then my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through the extremely trying experience, he was our rock. He helped me stay grounded and optimistic through my first semester in college. During my mom’s surgery and chemotherapy, he motivated her to walk every day and lifted her spirits. Fast forward 3 more years to my father’s trip to the emergency room where his brain tumor was discovered and he underwent brain surgery, which he rolled out of making peace signs, smiling ear to ear. He went into radiation and chemo glowing with gratitude for his successful surgery.

(Tom Roderick)

Through all that my dad’s been through, he’s never given up, only ever expressed gratitude and immense appreciation for the people in his life. We have only grown closer, and our time has only been more cherished. We are always living in the moment and counting our blessings. I feel so fortunate to have this one of a kind dad.”

(Tom Roderick)

To honor Tom’s grounding optimism, tenacity, and contagious spirit we are sending $500 and special edition dad gear. Your example of a full life lived with gratitude is a welcome inspiration. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

The Dad Of The Month, October 2019: Patrick Sedillo Jr.

(Patrick Sedillo Jr.)

It is our honor to announce The Dad of the Month for October 2019: Patrick Sedillo Jr. In just the last 2 years, this Marine Corps Veteran has watched his newborn son undergo open-heart surgery, earned a Bachelor’s degree, worked full time, and been a source of strength and love for his wife and 2 kids. Learn more from his wife, Melissa:

(Patrick Sedillo Jr.)

“My husband deserves to be Dad of the Month for many reasons. Not only is he a Marine Corp Veteran, he is a full-time student and a full-time worker. He’s the hardest working person I know, doing anything and everything he can to support our little family.

In April of 2017, we found out we were pregnant with our second child. From the beginning of the pregnancy, we faced many challenges. I’d recently had a miscarriage so I wasn’t gaining enough weight. Patrick was by my side for every ultrasound, doctor appointment, and test.

(Patrick Sedillo Jr.)

Our son was born 3 weeks early via C-section and days later we went home. Our first night home with our son was almost his last. Our baby was born with a Congenital Heart Defect that had gone undiagnosed. He slowly declined and we had no idea. At our first pediatric visit the next day, he was rushed to the Children’s Hospital where his Coarctation of the Aorta was found.

During this time we were both in shock. Patrick, being the amazing man he is, set aside his fears and concentrated on his son and me as I was still recovering from surgery. Our son had many ups and downs. Patrick was by our baby’s side through it all. We would take turns staying in the hospital so our daughter would still get time with us. Completely exhausted from sleeping in the chair and working on his homework, he still came home to cook our daughter breakfast, take her to the park, watch her favorite movies, and love on her as much as he could for the 24 hours he was home with her.

(Patrick Sedillo Jr.)

After a month in the hospital and open-heart surgery, our son was released home. Patrick made it his mission to do whatever he could to help our little warrior. He learned how to feed him using the feeding tube, administer medicine, and check for placement. All while working full time and going to school. The part that he truly deserves recognition for is how he stepped up when I couldn’t. I suffered from PTSD and PPD and didn’t know it. Patrick didn’t hesitate to take on cooking, cleaning, and caring for our daughter. Again, he did all of this while working full time and going to school.

(Patrick Sedillo Jr.)

After 3 years of busting his butt to provide for his family, Patrick has achieved one of his greatest accomplishments and has graduated from Embry Riddle With a BA in Aviation Maintenance. He’s been promoted within the Boeing Company, runs his own site, and just completely exemplifies a hard-working man. I can’t say enough how wonderful of a father he is and how much drive he has to support his family even when life has been so crazy.”

To honor Patrick’s unwavering dedication to his family, we’re sending $500 and special edition dad gear his way. The work ethic, consistency, and perseverance you’ve epitomized are inspiring and motivating to all of us trying to do our best for our families. Thank you for your service and example. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

The Dad Of The Month, September 2019: Andrew Yoshihara

(Andrew Yoshihara)

It is our honor to announce The Dad of the Month for September 2019: Andrew Yoshihara. A foster parent, non-profit founder, and stay-at-home dad, Andrew has a seemingly endless well of love to give. Read what his wife Desiree wrote in her nomination:

“I would like to nominate my husband for Dad of the Month because he is truly one of a kind and has a very generous heart.

(Andrew Yoshihara)

Andrew is a stay-at-home dad to our 3 children. As if that isn’t a full-time job, he also runs a non-profit called Bustin Barriers, a camp for children experiencing disabilities. Andrew created the program because as a person of color he understands what it’s like to be treated differently based on the way you look. All games and activities are adapted to be inclusive, and scholarships ensure no child is turned away.

(Andrew Yoshihara)

Two years ago, Andrew and I were able to pursue our dream of becoming foster parents. After a year with our baby girl, her birth mother had another baby who needed a home. I was hesitant because I remembered how hard it is to have a newborn, especially one facing potential health issues. Andrew and our 13-year-old daughter Mia desperately wanted him to join our family and their pitch was too good to refuse. We grew to a family of 5 overnight! Our son was in the hospital for 9 days and Andrew drove the 90 minutes to the hospital with our youngest daughter every day, sometimes twice on days he’d come pick me up from work and we’d all visit him together.

(Andrew Yoshihara)

I’d like to share another story exemplifying Andrew’s determination to make the world a better place. A while back, a teenage boy from our neighborhood knocked on our door asking if we had any yard work he could do to earn a little money. Andrew found some light cleanup for him and invited him back should he ever need more money. A few days later he was back and opened up to Andrew, eventually admitting he was hungry and didn’t have money for food. Andrew pulled money out of his wallet, food out of our refrigerator, and the next day met with the principal at the boy’s school to come up with a plan to help him. The school knew he was struggling and had offered food from their pantry, but unfortunately didn’t have the ability to deliver it. So each week, Andrew picks food up from the high school and brings it to our neighbor’s home.

(Andrew Yoshihara)

It’s things like this that make me fall in love over and over with Andrew. I’ve never cared about the size of anyone’s pocketbook, what impresses me most is how you treat others. This is Andrew’s greatest gift. I constantly remind our children how lucky they are to have him as their father, but they already know.”

(Andrew Yoshihara)

To honor Andrew’s compassion and all he does to improve the lives of others, we’re sending $500 and special edition dad gear his way. Sharing your heart and time so generously is making some big ripples in your community and beyond. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

The Dad Of The Month: August 2019

(Justin Gonzalez)

With great excitement we announce The Dad of the Month for August 2019: Justin Gonzalez. Justin is a single father to 2 boys and a superhero in more than one way. He was nominated by his friend and a fellow dad, Obed. Read what Obed had to say about Justin:

(Justin Gonzalez)

“I have known Justin since he was about 7 years old. He has come a long way from the wild kid and teenager he used to be.

Justin is raising 2 boys alone and does everything he needs to do to keep a smile on their faces. He focused on getting his personal life, finances, and career in order. He purchased a home entirely on his own and surprised his boys with it. They had no idea he was buying it. He is completely dedicated to them.

(Justin Gonzalez)

Cosplay is a hobby of Justin’s that he loves to share with his sons. He builds them all impressive costumes and together they go to Comic-Con and superhero movies dressed as characters. Those kids are going to look back at all of the photos someday and appreciate all that their dad did for them.

(Justin Gonzalez)

I envy the memories he’s making for his kids and hope my kids appreciate me as much as Justin’s boys appreciate him.”

To honor Justin’s unshakeable commitment to providing his boys with secure, fun-filled childhoods we’re sending him $500 along with special edition dad gear. Being a single parent is a difficult and too often thankless job, but the work you’re putting in will pay off and it inspires all of us. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

The Dad Of The Month: July 2019

(Eric Bland)

We are happy to announce The Dad of the Month for July 2019: Eric Bland. Eric is a loving and engaged parent to a newborn and teenager. Today also happens to be HIS BIRTHDAY, a day that is so celebrated by his family that it is known as ERICPALOOZA! Read about how he stepped into the role of father from his partner, Melissa:

“Eric is the best dad I could have ever hoped to raise a family with.

For the first 10 years of my daughter’s life it was just the two of us. Then Eric and I met and everything immediately changed for the better. My daughter actually liked him when they met. They became fast friends and bonded over sports, discovering my daughter’s exceptional talent for stats!

(Eric Bland)

We found out Eric was going to be a biological father two years ago. He was an excellent labor partner and the best new dad. We cried, we marveled together at this new little life, and Eric threw himself in headfirst. He mastered changing diapers, suctioning a tiny nose and mouth, and even running a breast pump at 2am while I nursed from the other side.

(Eric Bland)

He has effortlessly stepped in as stepdad and dada. He supports his girls no matter how many hormones are swirling around him or how stubborn I can be from my many single-parenting years. He’s the first to offer a comforting hug, a congratulatory high five, or a carefully crafted “your mom” joke. He has an open offer to join our eldest in her senior dance recital solo to lift her up on stage if she so chooses–it’s years away, but they’re already scheming. He is thoughtful and protective and loves our girls more than I’ve ever seen a dad love his kids, biological and bonus.

(Eric Bland)

Simply put he is the most stable, loving, and compassionate man I never knew existed. He is the embodiment of what a dad should be and shows us every day.”

To honor Eric’s example of patience and dedication to family, we’re sending $500 and special edition dad gear his way. Happy birthday Eric and a happy Ericpalooza to all! We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

The Dad Of The Month June: Scott Gittins

(Scott Gittins)

We are happy to announce The Dad of the Month for June 2019: Scott Gittins. Scott is a dedicated father, compassionate community member, and business owner. Read his nomination submitted by his daughter, Megan:

“My dad is the best dad in the whole world.

He was married to my mom, Julie Gittins and he promised to love and care for her in sickness and in health. My mom was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer with metastasis to her ovaries and liver. My dad stayed by her side for four years while she fought the disease. He stayed by her side through three surgeries, endless chemotherapy and radiation, and was there when she passed away in our home. And even through all of that he took me to softball practice, came to my games, attended my sister’s ice-skating competitions, and took us to church. He did this all while running his own business and working full time. He loves his family so much.

A few years after my mom passed away he found out my best friend and her mom and siblings were in an abusive situation with their biological father. When the abusive man was away, my dad and some friends from church took the chance to help the family move out of the house and into a program for abused families. Years later, he and my best friend’s mom started dating. Now they are married and he’s adopted her three kids.

(Scott Gittins)

He is selfless, God-fearing, and the best dad anyone could ever ask for. I love you dad, you are my hero.”

To honor Scott’s commitment to family we’re giving him $500 and special edition dad gear. Enjoy. We salute you.

The Dad of the Month May 2019: Ernie Rospierski

(Ernie Rospierski)

We are happy to announce The Dad of the Month for May 2019: Ernie Rospierski. A dedicated father and educator, Ernie has shown bravery and compassion through his wife’s difficult pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery, and in his job teaching at Stoneman Douglas High School. Read Ernie’s nomination submitted by his wife:

“Ernie Rospierski is my husband and a truly amazing father to our son, also named Ernie Rospierski. Ernie is a very engaged dad who has been through so much the last few years. Our son was born 10 weeks premature and stayed in the NICU for 51 days before we were able to finally bring him home. Prior to his birth, I was on permanent hospital bedrest for 29 days. Ernie was with me every day. He kept me sane and calm while we were both scared and uncertain about the survival of our unborn child.

When the time came, I nearly died giving birth to our boy and again a month later due to complications from the delivery. I know Ernie was just as scared as I was, but he held it together and we made it through with a healthy boy who is now almost 3. Ernie is a caring, compassionate, and dedicated father who spends as much time as he can with our son and with me.

My husband and I are both teachers at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On February 14, 2018 my class and I evacuated our building, but Ernie nearly lost his life when he was grazed by 2 bullets in the process of protecting students. My husband is a selfless man who puts his family and his students before himself. I am a better mother, wife, and person because of him, and I am ecstatic to be raising our son with him.”

To honor Ernie’s resilience and courage in fatherhood and beyond we’re giving him $500 and special edition dad gear. Enjoy. Thank you for being a role model for your son and students and dads everywhere. We salute you.

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life. 

 

 

Back To School Photo Fails

(Facebook.com/DaveHannem)

Parents love to capture the moment on the first day back to school, but sometimes that moment isn’t what we envisioned. Check out these hilarious back to school photo fails from The Dad community.

(Instagram.com/cheeksmagee)
(Facebook.com/KellySmith)
(Instagram.com/abbyjmccoy)
(Instagram.com/instagramycohen)
(Facebook.com/DaveHannem)
(Instagram.com/JoyScribner)
(Instagram.com/bullitt.with.a.name)
(Facebook.com/KristenMadral)
(Instagram.com/heatherdtomlinson)