It is said the most important role a man will ever play in his life is that of father . . . a dad expected to work hard to support his family, mentor his children to become responsible adults, make difficult (sometimes unpopular), but correct decisions, be accountable for all things . . . yet still be able to find time to pass the football, take a kid fishing or just have a good long talk on a Sunday afternoon.
To give them their due, many dads world wide do just this and more. Some dad's play the role of father to others as well, at work, during their free time, and on a volunteer basis.
This week, in honor of Father's Day on June 16, the Tyler Star News is celebrating dads who not only are super dads in their children's eyes, but those men who are also making an impact on humanity by stepping up to meet challenges to make their communities better because of them. Local sons and daughters spoke out about their fathers commitment to their community as well as their own families.
Ryan Walton and JoLee
"Father's Day takes on a whole new meaning to me this year," said Jeni Leasusre Bohrer when speaking of her father, Steve Leasure of Sistersville. "After a quadruple heart bypass, I feel beyond blessed to have my dad still with me."
"From a very early age, my dad taught me the meaning of loyalty, dedication and service to the community and country. He is a truly dedicated fireman who has spent numerous hours at accident scenes, fund raisers and in classrooms to further his knowledge to better assist those in need. He serves his community in so many ways."
Did you know?
Father's Day was first celebrated in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910. President Lyndon B. Johnson designated that the holiday would be celebrated in the United States each year on the third Sunday in the month of June.
In honor of the day, following are a few interesting facts about famous fathers:
* King Lear, a character in a play of the same name by William Shakespeare, is said to be one of the most famous fathers in literary history (even though Lear is dead by the end).
* America's famous father, George Washington, was said to have grown large crops of marijuana on his farm in the 1790's when the crop was grown mainly for its industrial value as hemp and for soil stabilization.
* The world's oldest living man, Methuselah, lived to be 969 years old (according to Genesis 5:27)
* Martin Luther King, Jr., was originally named Michael, like his own father. When Jr. was five years old, his dad changed botheth their names to Martin.
* The King of Hearts is the only king in a deck of cards without a mustache.
* Johann Sebastian Bach, hailed as one of the great composers of all time, was father to 20 of his own children, four of which followed his footsteps and became musicians.
* Twice fathers and sons have been elected to the highest office in the United States: Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush.
* Bill Cosby as Heathcliff Huxtable in the Cosby Show is the favorite dad of television viewers. Homer Simpson (voice by Dan Castellaneta) of The Simpsons TV show comes in second with Fred MacMurry as Steve Douglas in My Three Sons, third.
"Currently he is serving in the Sistersville Lions Club, he is Chief of the SVFD, LEPC, Tyler County Office of Emergency Management, a Director in the WV Chapter of International Association of Arson Investigators, President of Tyler County Firefighters Association, Tyler County Search and Rescue, National Registry Emergency Medical Technician, a VFW Blue Blazer, American Legion, Momentive Community Advisory Panel, and is on the 911 Board."
"My father has a true love for helping others in their time of need. He is generous, dedicated and truly enjoys working with the people in the community. I can't imagine my dad ever just sitting in a Lazy Boy without jumping up remembering he has a meeting to attend."
Bohrer says that on a personal level, her dad means the world to her. Now married with children of her own and living the life of a military spouse, Bohrer takes great pride in her father's never ending care. "He is a great father who has always been there for me. Every military move, he drives to my house and helps us pack up and gear up for the next duty station. He is always helping my husband around our homes, in various ports, with ceiling fans, wiring, building fences . . . you name it. He never tells me no, always just says, name the time and I'll be there."
"Most importantly, he's an incredible Pap to his grandchildren, Carter and Jenna. I do believe, in his eyes, the sun rises and sets in his grandchildren."
"I am so grateful and proud to call Steve Leasure my father."
As busy dads go, there are few busier than a coach of teenagers with two elementary school age children at home, all biding for his time every minute of the day. Such is the case of the new head football coach at Tyler Consolidated, Ryan Walton.
Also the Athletic Director for the Silver Knights and all that job entails, Walton is sure to become an expert on time management by the end of this season alone.
"Both of our kids love spending time with their dad," said Walton's wife Melinda. "They both love to fish, hunt, stay at the cabin and pass ball with him."
"His biggest task is sharing his time between both of them with his busy schedule."
Daughter JoLee said her dad supports her in everything she does. "He encourages me to try my best. As long as I give my best, he is proud of me," she said.
Eight year old Ty clearly enjoys his time with his dad. "My dad will stop what he is doing and pass baseball and football with me," he said. "He also likes to teach me how to fish."
Often in order to spend time with his children, one area of Walton's life overlaps on to the other.
"The kids often attend school events with him during the school year, just to spend time with him," Melinda said.
"I am confident both of them will be seen along side their dad often as he begins his new coaching position."
From a little girls prospective, Hailee Stender always saw her father, John Stender, as a bigger than life figure she has always looked up to.
"When I was young, I decided that my dad was a superhero; I was right!" she said.
"For over 35 years, my dad has been a father, grandfather, teacher, coach, county commissioner, and wonderful friend to more than his family, to the entire community."
"He dedicated his life to football, being more than just a coach to his players, and improving Tyler County, but he still had to time be with his family."
"Between his job, my brother, sister, and I, he coached and attended hundreds of sporting events, became our rock to lean on and support system, and helped us grow into who we are today."
Hailee says there are many things she could say about her dad and all the positive things he has done for their family, other families and individuals as well as the community over the years. But her vision of "Big John" in a cape overseeing the world clearly says it all.
"My dad has worn a lot of "capes" over the years," she said, "But his Dad cape is my favorite!"
From a fun loving teenager's point of view, 17 year old Amanda Dawson says her life has been completely filled with much fun, goodhearted humor, love and kindness, because of her dad, Bill Dawson, minister of the Sistersville United Methodist Church. "My dad has always been my best friend and one of my role models," she said.
"I believe he works so hard for his community and his family because his heart is in it," she said of her father who works tirelessly with several local organizations and individuals for their betterment. "With the community, he has a passion for helping others and reaching out. Giving to others brings him so much happiness. It's not just because he's a pastor either; he truly has a pure, strong, Christian heart inside and out, no matter where he is or who he is around."
When it comes to family, Amanda said hers is a very close one. "My mom was his high school sweetheart, and I think they're even more in love now than they were then."
"He has always made time to spend time with all of us, and if we have something important going on, he'll make room for it. I can't even remember any major events in my life he has ever been absent for."
"Basically, my dad just never ceases to amaze me. I don't know how he finds time for everything. He's an all around great guy, and I love him so very much."
Amanda's older brother Nathan, a police officer, said he too believes his father works hard for the community because he genuinely cares. "No matter where we have lived he has always put himself out there in the community helping out, or getting involved with local organizations. He wants the community to succeed and to grow and he does what he can to see that happen."
"As for him being my dad, I feel like the luckiest guy to have him as my dad. He's a role model to so many, including me, and being able to grow up and be raised by him, makes me feel so lucky. He's also been my best friend and who I have tried to mold myself after."
With his own wedding day in the very near future, Nathan foresees the day when it will be his turn to be the dad, and gives his father quite the compliment indeed. "When I eventually become a father I hope that the relationship I have with my child is a reflection of the relationship I have had with my dad."
Firemen, councilmen, police officers, paramedics, coaches, ministers, government officials, teachers . . . whatever responsibilities they take on other than their own career and raising their own families, fathers have shaped the past, present and future of the world. It's good to know that their offspring realize and are appreciative of their efforts.
Compliments to every father, in every job, doing his part on this Father's Day.