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2013 Favorite Fathers Awards held

    Fathers of all types – biological, role models, father figures, coaches – were recognized for making a difference in the lives of children June 14 at the fourth annual Favorite Fathers Awards  “Celebrating Our Fathers” held at Loyola University New Orleans.
     The event, sponsored by the New Orleans Fatherhood Consortium at Loyola, the Ashe' Cultural Arts Center, Women in Fatherhood, Inc.,  and other community and faith-based organizations, honored 130 men between the ages of 20-80.

    “We think fathers, especially black fathers, are an asset to this community,” said Petrice Sams-Abioudun, Ph.D., executive director of  the Lindy Boggs Center for Community Literacy at Loyola University. Although community members focus on absent fathers, “We believe we need to promote more images of black men and fathers. ... Our main goal is to address different, not negative images.” She mentioned the current “He Matters” bus and billboard campaign that shows positive images of black men as opposed to being on a billboard as “wanted.”
    Men beamed as their names were announced.
    “It’s an honor,” Terry Nash, father of three, said. “A lot of times fathers do the grunt work and don’t hear anything. To be acknowledged makes me feel good.”
 Keynote speaker and meteorologist Damon Singleton, also a father of three, gave a touching tribute to his own father whom he called his role model and hero.
    His father taught him and his siblings that they were as good as anybody else. “We would never think of ourselves as victims and would always strive to do our best.”
    As an officer and 22-year veteran of the U.S. Navy before becoming a local meteorologist, his career took him worldwide. What was his biggest fear? Not the missiles in Iraq. “My biggest fear was disappointing my dad.”
    “My father always wanted me to be better than him, to achieve greater things than he did,” Singleton said.
    He remarked how different the lives of children could be if they were surrounded by successful people and encouraged those present to positively influence children without a father.        
    “We could really impact this community, our city and ourselves,” he said.
Those honored took the “Chiefhood Pledge” of the Silverback Society: “I will live my life as though generations depend on me. I will teach and encourage all of mine to do the same.”
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