We asked our Club Goodwill members to tell us about their fabulous fathers for a chance to win a family 6-pack of tickets to the September 27, 2014 Brewers vs. Cubs game at Miller Park.
We'd like to extend our sincere thanks to all who participated! You can read the four winning entries below.
Happy Father's Day everyone!
Margaret D. – Orfordville, WI
My father was a high school Speech, English and Theatre teacher at Parker High School for 40 years. He dedicated his life to his students and made them better for it. He did so with wit and humility. He was awarded the Wisconsin Herb Kohl State Teacher of the Year in 1993. Throughout his life he has had many trials; in the summer of 2005 he was hit by a drunk driver and broke his neck. While recovering he never wanted us to see him in pain so he would often make jokes to lighten the mood for everyone. I remember realizing how much of an impact my Dad had on the people around him when I would come home and see frozen meals left on our porch for weeks after the accident. Let’s just say we ate a lot of lasagna that summer ?. In 2008 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, went through chemo and eventually went into remission. He remained positive throughout but I remember coming home on occasion and watching my Dad sleep and realizing just how much of a toll this all was on him. My Dad likes poetry and writing. Because of this on all the major events that happen in my life I have received a letter, usually with an attached and relevant poem, these letters mean so much to me. I received one the night before I left for college and on all birthdays. They always end with the same sentence, “P.S. You’re my favorite (don’t tell your sisters), which I am sure is identical on every letter he writes my siblings as well. I realize how lucky I am that my Dad has been so present in my life. He has taught me what it means to work hard, to be humble, to have a sense of humor and to be kind. Watching him and his relationships with people has shown me what it means to be a true friend and mentor. He recently retired and is enjoying his free time. He loves sports, especially basketball and baseball, so a chance to see the Brewers play the cubs with his family would be a great Father’s Day gift. Thank you (Goodwill) so much for all you do in the community; you are the day to day heroes in the lives of so many people.
Julie J. – Wheaton, IL
I have always known my father ranks in the top category of fathers, but this year he has truly proven himself. As a father of 3, and a husband to a disabled wife, my father has shown true marks of humility and love. He carried the load of the family (including caring for our elderly grandparents), allowing my mother to go back to school to complete her dream occupation goals. This has meant he has driven her to work every morning and picked her up faithfully every evening. He adjusted his work availability so that she always has a ride from him. He has encouraged her through this process and has stayed up late many nights helping her study and get her work done.
As a father, he has made sure that each of us 3 young adults have felt not only his unconditional love through voicing it everyday (many texts saying "I love you princess, just so you remember today"), but has gone out of his way to show us through actions. Recently, when my sister said she wanted to come home from college for a 3 day break but had no way to do so, he volunteered to go pick her up 8 hours away and drive her back (completing 32 hours of driving in 3 days), just so she could enjoy being with family during a stressful time. In each crisis he has proven himself to be a faithful, loving Daddy, who cares so much more about proving this, than focusing on his own appearances or preferences.
A funny brief memory: my father’s humility and willingness to be supportive has meant many “shopping days,” driving around greater Chicago area to the multiple Goodwill stores! He patiently waits as we all try on our carts of exciting deals and voices his carefully planned “that looks great on you, sweetheart!” He is always willing to be the driver for his girl's shopping day, and holds our carts while we explore and have fun. When needed, he even helps my mom try on her outfit creations in the dressing room so she doesn’t have to miss out on an outfit because it is too hard to put on. I have always seen my father be the kindest man to my mom and gently help her in every way possible.
My father is not perfect, and reminds us of that every day. But in each mistake or lesson being learned, he has included us in this learning and has encouraged us to grow from his mistakes. He has always been my favorite teacher, guiding me to be the best that I can achieve and continue to pursue excellence through integrity and ethics. My father even helped pick out my amazing husband whom he helped shape and teach before we were married so that my husband would know how to treat me with respect. They are now best friends and my Dad is teaching my husband to be a great father.
Ellen D. - Walworth, WI
The word amazing doesn’t even begin to describe my dad. He will be 89 years old this year, and that alone is pretty amazing. But what has he done with his 89 years? Now that’s amazing!
Born in southern Indiana, his family was forced to move off of their land, by the government,t in order to create the Jefferson Proving Ground. Relocating just a few miles away, he helped his dad move their entire farm and homestead – equipment, animals, household, etc., with only mules and a wagon. He was valedictorian of his high school class in 1944 and entered the US Army at that time. An infantry soldier in Germany and later a select guard at the Nuremberg War Trials, he served his country and helped preserve freedom around the world. Soon after returning from the war, he married my mother and they had four children. He worked at the Marion, Indiana Veterans Administration Hospital as a nursing administrator until retirement. At my mother’s funeral last year, every single former work associate and VA employee who attended told me that my dad was the best boss they had every worked for. Married to my mom for 65 years, he has had to adjust to a completely new normal since her death. He had a few months of complete and understandable despair, but his character, calm and quiet determination, and faith in God has brought him to today with grace and dignity that few can achieve. I love my dad and have so many memories of growing up helping him on our small farm, playing ball in the front yard, sacking corn in the corn crib to take to the mill to have ground for the animals. We worked together, played together, ate every meal together, and prayed together. I remember him going to work faithfully, every day, and never calling in sick or trying to figure out how he could get a day off.
I guess it comes with old age – the feeling of being useless and unimportant to the rest of the world. My dad has felt those feelings over the past months, I know. Along with loneliness because my mom is gone and old-age health challenges, I’m sure it’s hard to go on some days. But every day when I call him, he cheerfully says “Hi, Ellen!” and life seems good.
Anyone can be awesome for a day or so, but my dad has been awesome for over 32,000 days and counting. And I love him for it!!
Kathryn S. – Beaver Dam, WI
Our Dad is our hero, in many ways--here are a few: He worked in a career that wasn't his first choice by a longshot, but did it because it was security in order to raise a family of four kids. He taught us to be respectful of what we had, take care of our possessions and work hard for what you want in life. We jokingly called it the "austerity program" (big smile here) because he'd always say: "turn off the lights" "close the fridge door" "if you take all that you better drink/eat it and not waste it"...boy did we roll our eyes at him! (As an adult/parent myself, I understand--it is the "reduce" model he was preaching--happy to say none of us 4 kids take our "things" for granted--no matter how much we didn't like to hear it then, we are all thankful we were taught it!) He'd watch PBS regularly--tons learned from that vs all the other garbage on TV! He'd dumpster dive, often wood/metal to make new things: our girls' playhouse on one side of the yard and boys' fort on the other; birdhouses; and now free libraries! (REUSE and RECYCLE!). Taught us how to fish (and ice fish)--panfish and gamefish and patiently answer the endless questions that went with those long hours on the lake! How to change oil and a tire, he's a tinkerer and he still comes to each of our houses to help teach us how to fix this or that (THANK YOU!). He's in love with my mom after 51 yrs of marriage-- they hold hands, go on adventure rides all the time together and love to watch Packer and Brewer games together. Famous sayings of his: "everything in moderation" and his humorous side: "don't let your mouth write a check your arse can't cash". He's a prankster, mischief in "small" ways: hide your coffee mug when you turn away; short sheet your bed; tell a tall tale (or two). He taught us detail, hardwork, modesty--to try for perfection, but to be honest and okay with yourself if you aren't. He's even been "Santa" at Christmas for all the grandkids (which is exceptional for a man who is more introverted than most!). He our humble Dad, a deeply good person,inside and out who cares a lot about us all, and taught/teaches us so much--even in our 30s and 40s! Thanks DAD--none of us would be who we are without you as our mentor, our friend, our Papa!