Terry Mitropoulos named Victorian Father of the Year 2016

YMCA Victoria in association with the Father’s Day Council of Victoria has announced 41-year-old Eltham resident Terry Mitropoulos as the Victorian Father of the Year for 2016.

Terry Mitropoulos and family
Terry pictured with his wife, Belinda, and two sons, Jonah and Christos .


When faced with adversity the people closest to you provide strength.

For Terry Mitropoulos, the love of his family is truly why he could accept this year’s Victorian Father of the Year.

On 26 September 2016, YMCA Victoria and the Father’s Day Council of Victoria awarded Terry the prestigious title after his son Jonah, 12, nominated him through the YMCA Community Father of the Year at Eltham Leisure Centre.

The 41-year-old husband and father has been through some incredibly traumatic times. In 2010, he was diagnosed with brain tumours and told by doctors to fear the worst.

Battling through 13 major operations to his brain and spine, Terry explained it was his family that pulled him through.

“On my sick bed, my family had nothing but love,” Terry said when accepting Victorian Father of the Year.

“If you have love, you have it all.”

Terry’s sons, Jonah, 12, and Christos, 10, both took to the stage to let the Victorian public know why their dad is so special.

“He teaches me to believe in myself and that anything is achievable through hard work and determination,” said Jonah.

“I love him very much and he is a worthy winner.”

Terry’s unconditional love for his two boys and wife Belinda was overwhelming, as he tried to hold back tears during his acceptance speech.

“To my two boys, I love you so very much,” he said.

“You love life, and your futures are going to be very special… you will be leaders for your generation.”

It’s his drive to be a role model that led Terry to the YMCA at Eltham Leisure Centre and receiving this honour. After complications with his operations, it looked as if Terry would never be able to walk. Thanks to YMCA Open Doors, which gives disadvantaged people free access to YMCA services and facilities, Terry could start his journey to rehabilitation.

This process has taken him from a wheelchair, to a walking frame, to now walking unassisted.

“To the YMCA, thank you for helping me through my rehabilitation… and helping me achieve the impossible,” he said.

The ceremony was attended by Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley, Father’s Day Council of Victoria Chair Don Parson’s, and Acting YMCA Victoria CEO Greg Jennings. Previous Victorian Father of the Year award winners also came to celebrate, include the 2015 recipient Abubeker Mohamed.

Celebrating 60 years, the Victorian Father of the Year recognises outstanding fathers and male role models.

YMCA Victoria would also like to thank the City of Melbourne for hosting the ceremony at the Melbourne Town Hall.

Congratulations to Terry, Belinda, Jonah, and Christos on this remarkable achievement.

The Father’s Day Council of Victoria has announced Abubeker Mohamed as Victoria’s Father of the Year 2015

The ceremony was held in the chambers of Melbourne Town Hall, attended by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Father’s Day Council Chair Don Parsons, YMCA Victoria Chair Anthea Hancocks, YMCA Victoria CEO and Deputy Chair of the Victorian Father’s Day Council Peter Burns, as well as Abubeker’s family and friends.

Abubeker with children
Abubeker pictured with five of his children. Wife Suad and the two youngest children were not able to attend.

Abubeker migrated to Australia in 1996 from the African country of Eritrea, moving to Wonthaggi a decade later to raise his family. He and his wife Suad have seven children, aged between two and thirteen years old.

Abubeker first came to the attention of the Father’s Day Council through their centre’s local YMCA Community Father of the Year.

He is a loving dad who has put his family first, ensuring they have the best educational opportunities and access to swimming and water safety lessons.

In her nomination, 12 year old daughter Nusayba wrote, “My father is someone I can look up to and inspires me to do good things. He stands up for me and supports me.”

In his acceptance speech, Abubeker thanked YMCA staff at Bass Coast Aquatic and Leisure Centre, as well as his family and friends.

“It is not just an honour for me, but for my whole family. I am so humbled… I never thought I’d receive this,” he said. “I would like to thank my daughter Nusayba for nominating me, and to the Bass Coast YMCA for their wonderful service to the community.”

Presenting the award was Lord Mayor Robert Doyle who recognised how important dads and father figures are in the Victorian community.

“The essence of being a good dad is time,” said the Lord Mayor. “Just sharing time together is so important. We’ve had winners of all sorts over the years, and the link between them has been they’re just good dads.”

In 1910, the YMCA founded Father’s Day and we have continued to support and celebrate the important role they play in the community.

Nominations close soon

Nominations for the 2015 Father of the Year for Victoria close on 7 August 2015 at 5pm AEST.

This year’s announcement will be held at Melbourne Town Hall on Monday 31 August.

For media enquiries, call Eugene Benson on (03) 9403 5052.

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.