YMCA Victoria in association with the Father’s Day Council of Victoria this morning announced 46-year-old Geelong resident Jason Stack as the Victorian Father of the Year for 2017.
Jason becomes the 61st Father to win this prestigious award in recognition of his resilience and commitment to family through adversity.
Nominated by his 14-year-old daughter Adele, she wrote, “My dad is my best friend. He is a powerful and amazing man and I look up to him every day.”
For Adele and her sisters, 16-year-old Kyralee and 19-year-old Courtney, Jason is the reason why their family has not only survived, but has overcome adversity and inspired them to live each day to the fullest.
In 2013, three days before Mother’s Day, Jason’s wife Kim attempted to take her own life. There were no signs or symptoms of mental illness.
After 12 days in intensive care and another three months in hospital, Kim did not recover fully and required full-time care. She spent the next three years of her life in a nursing home, visited frequently by her loving family who struggled to come to terms with the mother they had lost, suddenly and unexpectedly.
Sadly, Kim passed away last year.
The trauma and heartbreak felt by the family, and that they continue to feel is unimaginable. Yet despite this Jason has strived to provide stability and care for his three daughters to ensure they continue to live their lives and aspire to positive futures.
In his speech this morning, Jason said, “Losing their mum is not what defines us.”
Every day Jason wakes at 5am and works tirelessly at his two businesses in Geelong, an electrical contracting business and a part-owned building business. Despite often working 15 hours days, when he returns home he cooks dinner and spend time with his family. He is heavily involved with community events such as school functions and has been a volunteer as the Netball President of the Newtown and Chilwell Football and Netball Club for the last two years. He also takes his role as both mum and dad seriously, maintaining a good sense of humour he helps his daughters go bra shopping and chats openly about other girl issues.
Business partner and close friend Glenn Hammond said the award is well-deserved, “Jason always put the girls first. I don’t know how he does it all.”
This was evident in Jason’s remarks today as he accepted the award at Melbourne Town Hall.
“My three daughters are my heroes. Today is about them, not me.”
14-year-old daughter Adele thinks of her father as a super hero, she wrote in the nomination: “I don’t know in this world where I would be if I didn’t have him in my life. Somehow my dad is such a strong and happy person.
“With everything that goes on in our life, my dad has shown when life gets you down, you have to get up stronger and fight back. This is what my dad has done and has taught me for the last four years. “
As a result of their dad’s guidance and perseverance to enjoy their lives, Adele and Kyralee are thriving in their studies and are active in community sports. Courtney is currently studying medicine at Melbourne University.
Jason is an incredibly selfless and generous person and is open to share his story to promote suicide and mental health awareness, “I never, ever, thought I would be in this situation. If sharing this story can stop anyone from taking their life, it’s worth it.”
“I hope I can help promote good mental health and suicide awareness. I always encourage my girls to reach out and seek help when they need it, like I have.”
Chair of the Father’s Day Council and YMCA Victoria CEO Peter Burns said the award recognised the importance of fathering and family life. He said in the 61st Year of the Victorian Father of the Year he was honoured to present the award to a father who goes above and beyond for their family.
“The Council and YMCA received more than 1100 nominations from across the state for an outstanding father figure.
“We look for a father or father figure who is dedicated to their family, who embraces fatherhood and inspires others. Jason represents an extraordinary father who has overcome adversity and continues to guide his daughters, a father who is doing the best he can.”
Since 1956, the Father’s Day Council of Victoria has named a Father of the Year for Victoria, to celebrate and recognise the important role fathers and father-figures play in family life. For the past twelve years the YMCA has partnered with the Council and co-ordinated the local YMCA Community Father of the Year in every region where there is a YMCA. The Father’s Day Council of Victoria considers all YMCA Community Father of the Year recipients when selecting the Victorian Father of the Year as well as nominations directly submitted to the Council.
If you have been affected by this story please contact Lifeline, Suicide Call Back Service, Kids Helpline or MensLine Australia.
Lifeline 13 11 14 http://www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 http://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 http://www.kidshelpline.com.au
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 http://www.mensline.org.au