The Phoenix chapters of the American Diabetes Association and the Father’s Day Council will honor five outstanding Valley dads as 2011 Fathers of the Year at an awards dinner and celebration Thursday night.
These prominent Phoenix businessmen were chosen on the basis of their demonstration of responsible parenting, exemplary ability to balance family and work life and strong commitment to serving the community.
After accepting the honor, each of the five will make a pledge to raise research funds for the American Diabetes Association by calling on friends, family and colleagues to make donations to achieve their fundraising goals.
I had a chance to speak with each of the five outstanding fathers about the honor, diabetes and their families.
Bradley Parker, senior vice president of US Bank
Growing up, Parker watched his grandmother suffer from diabetes. He says he didn’t realize how “big” it is until until he began researching the disease soon after learning he would be receiving the ADA award.
“It seems like everywhere you turn, you uncover new information and you also uncover people that you know that you didn’t know had it,” Parker says.
He was driven to participate when he saw the impact the disease can have on the lives of children. Parker saw connections to his own experience with a rocky entry his twin sons experienced when they were born eight weeks premature.
“Whenever I see the children connection, it definitely pulls on my heartstrings,” he says. “So that was a big impact for me and a big reason I wanted to get involved after I realized what an impact it had on children, especially.”
Parker’s three kids are all different, all interested in different things.
“My kids are incredible,” Parker says, laughing tenderly as he talks about his own three children. “They light up my life every day. It’s amazing. I love watching them grow, and every single one of them absolutely inspires me every day to get better at what I do.”
When he is with his family, he enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors and just “doing whatever.”
Parker says this honor has sparked discussions in his family about the importance of community service.
“It’s always been a little bit of a challenge trying to explain to [the children] why we do what we do [charitably], but I think that this process — with me and my wife both being so involved, and just all the work we had to do around it — gave them a better understanding of why we do what we do,” he says.
The Parkers will most likely spend Father’s Day at his wife’s parents’ house here in town, where he said they usually end up having a Father’s Day pool party.
Tomorrow: Mike Tully, CEO of AAA Arizona