• Staff Sgt. A.J. Pettus, left, Task Force Marshall, and Col. James Love, garrison commander, render salutes during the Fatherhood Recognition Ceremony Tuesday at the Solomon Center. Looking on are Ike McLeese, president of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, and Carla Atkinson, Army Community Services director. The ceremony recognized 34 Fort Jackson fathers.

    Fatherhood1

    Staff Sgt. A.J. Pettus, left, Task Force Marshall, and Col. James Love, garrison commander, render salutes during the Fatherhood Recognition Ceremony Tuesday at the Solomon Center. Looking on are Ike McLeese, president of the Greater Columbia Chamber...

  • Ike McLeese, president of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, shares stories about fatherhood with the audience at Fort Jackson's Fatherhood Recognition Ceremony.

    Fatherhood2

    Ike McLeese, president of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, shares stories about fatherhood with the audience at Fort Jackson's Fatherhood Recognition Ceremony.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson celebrated 34 fathers this week during the second annual Fatherhood Recognition Ceremony.

Tuesday's event at the Solomon Center was designed to be a celebration of fatherhood in general, and not to single out one Soldier from Fort Jackson for specific honors.

"We're recognizing every dad who was nominated for recognition," said Greg Lewis, a Family Advocacy Program specialist. "We felt like, if a neighbor or commander felt like they were worthy to nominate them, we would recognize them at this event."

"It was about two years ago we established this fatherhood initiative and this program here at Fort Jackson to serve as an avenue for this important part of the military family that, a lot of times, is overlooked -- and that's military dads," said Col. James Love, garrison commander.

Military fathers have more responsibilities and challenges today, he said, as duties frequently take fathers away from their families.

"In today's Army, we're often separated from our families by way of deployment, unaccompanied assignments, or often time-consuming and stressful duties as we have here at Fort Jackson," Love said. "We all have a role in building and maintaining a strong and resilient community where our families and our children are supported. Children are our most precious resources and we must challenge ourselves to keep them healthy, happy and safe."

The guest speaker for the event was Ike McLeese, president of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, who shared stories of his own father with the audience.

"It is a very special role in life," he said of fatherhood. "I'd like to congratulate you. Someone saw you doing an outstanding job of being a father, so it's a pleasure to be here today. It's an honor to be among Soldiers, especially those who have been singled out for the performance of their responsibilities as fathers."

Page last updated Thu June 14th, 2012 at 00:00