Mike Tully was one of five outstanding Valley dads to be honored by the Phoenix chapters of the American Diabetes Association and the Father’s Day Council 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. Yesterday we interviewed honoree Bradley Parker.
Mike Tully, CEO of AAA Arizona
Tully, the father of two teenage girls, was surprised to be nominated for the award. He says he is fortunate not to have any close, personal ties to diabetes.
Since his nomination, he has learned a great deal about the disease and its impact, especially on children.
Tully remembers an impactful experience at one of the Father of the Year meetings, at which each father was given a teddy bear wearing a jacket hung with 120 safety pins, representing the number of shots of insulin children with type 1 diabetes must be given each week.
In an effort to raise funds for the cause, Tully sent letters to his “400 closest friends,” family and colleagues around the country. He has been amazed by the generous response he received.
With long work weeks, Tully says he looks forward to vacation times with his kids.
“Between community service-type stuff and work, trying to balance family-type stuff is critically important. So, vacation is one of the big, very very special moments in my life. We typically go on adventurous vacations. We’re typically very active on vacations and have a lot of great memories,” he says.
Tully’s two daughters, ages 15 and 12, are best friends, despite having very different personalities.
“I’ve never seen two kids get along as well,” he says. “The two never fight. We’ve been phenomenally blessed. I’m incredibly lucky, actually, to have the family I’ve got.”
Over the years, Tully says he has tried to teach his girls by example how important it is to be active in the community.
“I’m a strong, strong believer in ‘What you do is what people see, which is what they will do.’ So basically demonstrating the balance in your own life. Frankly, sometimes, when I get done with work, I’d rather drive home. Making those tradeoffs and making sure your kids understand those tradeoffs, getting involved in charities [is important].”
Tully said he wants to be sure his kids understand how fortunate they are, and the struggles others go through.
“One thing could change in your life and it could be completely different,” Tully says, “and you’d want to have people looking out for you if that ever happened to you.”
This Father’s Day, the family will embark on yet another adventurous vacation. They will be heading up to Whistler, Canada to go sightseeing for bears, canoeing down a river, and speeding down a “monster zip-line run.” — Sadie Smeck
Tomorrow: Chris Rich, president of Rich Financial Group.