This year’s winner has demonstrated the undying love a parent has for their children and how fundamental the love and care of a grandparent can be to grandchildren.
There were many reasons why Mel nominated her Dad for this recognition.
A constant provider of love, support and encouragement to his daughters and now constantly offering that same love, support and encouragement to his grandchildren, who are now teenagers. He attends all their schooling and sporting activities and is always there for them. Always!
Mel wrote “I can honestly say I could never have asked for a better Dad or Grandfather to my children. But, that is only part of the reason I would like to nominate my Father.
Over the past 12 months he has saved my life at least 5 times. You see, I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and the past 12 months have been the darkest, hardest and worst of my life. I have been suicidal on numerous occasions. Although I have received help and support from professionals other family members and friends, my Dad has ALWAYS been there for me.
I don’t know how many times he has sat beside me, when I have had tears pouring down my face, having lost all belief in myself and simply said “well, what can we do? There must be something we can do. I will help you, I will do anything”. He always manages to help me find a glimmer of hope, no matter how small. He has picked me up so many times. I have been hospitalised quite a bit due to my depression. During this time he has attended Parent / Teacher Interviews with my children, driven them to and supported them at the various sports they play. He is such a constant, caring role model to them as well.
You can fully appreciate that he was raised in a generation where there was very little, if any, awareness about Mental Illness. Yet he has taken to time to research and educate himself so he can better understand the illness.
“I tell him often how much I appreciate everything he has done for me, but it just never seems enough. It is for these reasons (and many more, but it would take me too long to list them), that I nominate my Dad. He is my Father, my Best Mate and my Savior”.
This year’s Father of the Year is not only is a dedicated family man he is also committed to his community in Wangaratta. At 71 this retired Teacher with over 30 years of experience at TAFE was instrumental in the establishment of the equine course in North- East Victoria. Since 1985 this course has prepared hundreds of young people for careers in the horse industry. Now known as the National Centre for Equine Education it has an established wide network of equine professionals as well as numerous important affiliations in Victoria, around Australia and internationally.
He has served on committees for the Wangaratta Harness Racing Club and Wangaratta Turf Club and put countless hours assisting the Department of Sustainability and Environment maintaining the local racetracks and Victorian Racing Club as a training analysis. He now enjoys operating his property on the outskirts of Wangaratta where he runs a few steers and breed a few horses as well as providing agistment. He is still actively involved in the racing industry as secretary for the committee of management for the Wangaratta Racecourse Reserve and a keen snooker player.