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.
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.