Fathers’ Day: Fort Jackson honors dads in ceremony
June 16, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson celebrated the outstanding contributions of military fathers in its inaugural Fatherhood Recognition Ceremony at the Solomon Center Tuesday.
Seventeen fathers in the community were nominated by their families, co-workers and friends based on the strength and compassion they share with their children and others.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, the keynote speaker, stressed the importance of fathers.
“I think every child, regardless of (what) race, heritage, parentage or zip code they are born in has the opportunity to live up to their God given potential,” Benjamin said. “That starts with us being great fathers.”
The mayor went on to say that the difficult job of fathering could be handled as a community.
“We are in a battle for the souls of our children. It is time for us to stand together and say, ‘No more.’ All fathers need to step up and recognize that we are not just fathers to our children but fathers to all children.”
Col. James Love, garrison commander, also spoke.
“Children are our most precious asset and we must challenge ourselves to keep them healthy, happy, safe, secure, and most of all loved,” he said. “It is with these thoughts in mind that we established this program at Fort Jackson, to serve as an avenue of support for our military fathers.”
The ceremony was a culmination of sorts for the Fort Jackson Family Advocacy Program, which was created to help create a positive community for fathers through the fatherhood forums held on post.
Greg Lewis, who works with Family Advocacy, started the forums in November 2010. Lewis said many of his life experiences have given him a special passion for military fathers. The Army retiree, who has endured the painful loss of a child, is raising a teenage son.
“My father was not around when I came up and I know what it is like to deal with the demands of wearing the uniform and trying to be there for those at home,” Lewis said. “We want to encourage dads to keep making that effort to connect whenever they can. Especially with teens, dads play a big role in helping kids make the right decisions.”
The fatherhood forums have attracted men on post with a large amount of fathering and military knowledge, ranging from young Soldiers to the commanding general.
“Our goal with this program is to give fathers a safe place to talk about their own issues, without the moms and the work distractions,” Lewis said. “We are working toward building these dads up so they can be engaged, continue to go out and do great things.”
The nominees recognized were:
Lt. Col. Ransford Reinhard II, Lt. Col. Larry Habig, Maj. Roy Harrell, Capt. Angel Soto, Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Phillips, 1st Sgt. Alberto Benitez, 1st Sgt. Keith Green, 1st Sgt. Dudley Hunt, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hinman, Sgt. 1st Class Gilbert Hodge, Sgt. 1st Class William Thomsen, Staff Sgt. Sherman Crosland, retired 1st Sgt. Noah Love, retired Cpl. Douglas Kinard Jr., Darne King, James Allen and Gerard Phalo.