Jason Stack awarded 2017 Victorian Father of the Year award

Jason Stack 2017
From left to right: Adele Stack, Courtney Stack, 2017 Victorian Father of the Year recipient Jason Stack, Kyralee Stack, and Jason’s parents Gloria and Kerry.

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

2014 Victorian Father of the Year – “He makes time for family no matter what”

Adam with Oscar and Ava
Adam with Oscar and Ava

The Father’s Day Council of Victoria has announced 38-year-old horticulturalist Adam Strathairn of Wyndham Vale, as Victoria’s Father of the Year for 2014.

Adam is renowned in his community for always making the time to be involved in his children’s lives and involving them in his.

As well as coaching his children’s basketball teams, Adam volunteers as president, secretary and registrar of the Good News Basketball Club which they play for.

Father of Ava (11) and Oscar (eight) Adam first came to the attention of the Father’s Day Council after being named a YMCA Victoria Community Father of the Year for his outstanding commitment to his children’s sporting commitments at the Werribee Sports and Fitness Centre. He was nominated to the centre by his two loving children.

With his passion for nature, healthy living and getting your hands dirty, children Ava and Oscar helped design their beautiful backyard, complete with vegie patch and chicken run, a suburban oasis.

No matter what else is going on in the world, Sundays in the Strathairn household are always reserved as ‘family day’. Family day involves day trips to The Royal Botanic Gardens to learn about plants, trips to Geelong to be by the water, or simply having the grandparents visit for a family meal all prepared together. Continue reading “2014 Victorian Father of the Year – “He makes time for family no matter what””

Kevin Kurrle named 2013 Father of the Year for Victoria

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.

YMCA Victoria Chief Executive Peter Burns, 2013 Father of the Year Kevin Kurrle, Deputy Mayor Susan Riley and Father's Day Council Chair Don Parsons.
YMCA Victoria Chief Executive Peter Burns, 2013 Father of the Year for Victoria Kevin Kurrle, Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley and Father’s Day Council Chair Don Parsons.

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.

2012 – Romeo Biancofiore

The Father’s Day Council of Victoria today (Monday 27 August, 11.30am) announced 59 year old Italian immigrant Romeo Biancofiore, of St Albans, as Victoria’s 2012 Father of the Year.

2012 Father of the Year for Victoria Romeo Biancofiore

“In most kids’ lives their hero is usually a sports star, Hollywood actor or some sort of celebrity. But mine has always been my dad,” says his youngest of two sons, Rob, 27.

Like so many of the 2,000 nominees, Romeo shone most strongly in the eyes of those who care about them most – their children.

Romeo single-handedly raised Rob and his brother Anthony after his wife’s death 15 years ago, and remains actively involved in their lives as adults, as well as helping care for his elderly parents.  He’s a traditional hard-working Australian dad turned primary parent and carer, with the close relationship he enjoys with his adult sons forged in those tough years of adversity.

Migrating to Australia with his Italian family when he was six and with limited English, Romeo struggled through school, joined the workforce at 12, and married another Italian immigrant, Nella, in his early 20s, after spending three years in the Australian Army.

Like many traditional families of the time, Romeo worked two, sometimes three jobs to support with wife and children – and Rob with his wife Belinda is currently doing much the same to get ahead and pay off their home in Caroline Springs.  Anthony, 31, is likewise a hard worker, managing business systems and data at a major metropolitan hospital.

As a result of the long hours and hard work Romeo has arthritis in both knees and endured several operations, the last of which caused a minor heart attack.

Romeo remains a committed carer, spending his day visiting his wife at the cemetery before going to his parents’ house where he provides much needed respite for his sisters, who care for his mum and dad who both suffer from dementia.

“He is the most loyal, hardworking, loving father, husband, brother, son, uncle and friend,” says Rob. “Genuine in every way. The type of person who put everything and everyone before himself. He is a gentleman and respected by everyone everywhere he goes.”

“He is reliable, a man of his word, he never lets anyone down. Just an all-round good person with morals and generosity. Someone to look up to, mould your life around. A heart of gold and a smile of warmth, My Hero,” wrote Rob in his heartfelt nomination of his dad. “Every kid deserves a dad like this, I’m just over the moon he’s mine”.

“Romeo is a worthy recipient of this award that recognises and celebrates the significant role fathers and male role models play in the journey of life  for their children and acknowledges that ordinary people can have an extraordinary impact on children’s lives,” said Father’s Day Council Chair Don Parsons. “Romeo represents the many dads out there doing the best they can every day for their children.”

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 and in the past eight years the YMCA has partnered the Council and co-ordinated the Local Community Father of the Year in every region where there is a YMCA.  The Father’s Day Council of Victoria considers all Local YMCA Community Father of the Year recipients when selecting the Victorian Father of the Year as well as nominations directly submitted to the Council.

“There were over 2000 amazing nominations this year, and we congratulate every single nominee for their continued dedication and enrichment of their children’s lives,” said Mr Parsons.

For further information contact:

Shona Eland
Father’s Day Council of Victoria
Mobile 0400 179 369

Don Parsons
Chair – Father’s Day Council of Victoria
Mobile 0419 544 744

2009 – Bruce Maya

Bruce Maya 2009 Father of the Year for Victoria
Bruce Maya, 2009 Father of the Year for Victoria.

Gippsland dad Bruce Maya was named 2009 Father of the Year for Victoria after he was nominated by his 10-year-old daughter Lucy.

“I reckon my dad is brave because he fought the Black Saturday bushfires. It burnt our house down. I’m lucky that dad is still here to look after our family. I love my Dad,” Lucy wrote in her nomination.

Lucy nominated her dad through the Warragul Leisure Centre’s YMCA Local Community Father of the Year.

It was the first time a Local Community Father of the Year had been named the Victorian Father of the Year.

The Maya family’s home in Labertouche, near Drouin, was lost in the 2009 Black Saturday fires and Bruce, his wife Narelle, daughter Lucy and son Jack lived on the property in a bus while their home was rebuilt.

Bruce remained strong and continued to help his community.

He helped Drouin Junior Football Club as a committee member, runner and was team manager for his son Jack’s team. He also played cricket and also helped Lucy’s netball team.

Lucy’s teacher at St Ita’s Primary School, Peter McKenna, said: “Lucy and the family have done it tough. Lucy’s dad is her hero.”