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This year's submissions for our annual Father's Day contest depicted various types of dads. The essays ranged from portraits of traditional kinds of dads (typically those who manage to balance the impossible job of working long hours and making their kids feel special), to extraordinary fathers and father figures who pitched in to help make up for the untimely loss of a parent. Though different in form, however, the content of all of the essays are heartwarming and moving. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did.

And to all the Port dads out there, have a great day in this wonderful town!

I hope you will agree with what my sister and I already know. That our father Harold Poole is and has been father-of-the-year for some 40 plus years. Born and raised in Port Washington, he has, in fact, spent most of his (almost) 85 years right here. He is a WWII Navy veteran who served in Europe and was on his way to the South Pacific when the war ended. He has been a volunteer fireman with Protection Engine Company for 64 years and helped start the company blood drive. He still attends meetings and parades, much to the delight of his two grandsons.

At a very young age my sister and I lost our mother to cancer. We were all devastated, but somehow dad carried on and assumed the roles of both mother and father to two young girls. He never remarried, but lived his life around us. He has taught us by example, about love, respect for ourselves and others, and the importance of family.

Although this tragedy affected us all in some permanent way, we still look back on our childhood with warmth and happiness. It was actually pretty great and that is because of our dad. Every holiday was filled with cheer and decoration, and every summer we continued our family vacations together. He not only managed to give us all the love and emotional support we needed, he managed the cooking, cleaning and endured clothes shopping and adolescence with much patience.

He has always been there for us, and continues to be the most dependable man we know. He was truly rejuvenated by the birth of his grandsons, Lucas (11) and Malcolm (3). He sees them almost daily and is a most devoted grandpa. They clearly love him and will grow to be better people because he is a part of their lives. Our husbands will also agree that he is a good man to have as a father-in-law.

Our dad will turn 85 this fall and we think this is a long overdo, reminder to him of how much we love him. His strength and courage, his self-sacrifice and devotion, and most of all his love for us, has never wavered. Even if he is not chosen by your paper as father of the year, it won't change the winner for us. Dad, you're the best, we love you. Happy father's day. Love,

- Carole and Gail

To call our father, Howard Schiff, the Father of the Year 2004 would be inappropriate. Not because he is not the absolute best father anyone could ask for, but simply because he is our "Father of the Year" every year. There are many reasons why we feel our dad deserves this highly esteemed position, which are far too many to list here. But we feel that his hard work and devotion to being a great father, grandfather, and husband should not go unrecognized and we want him to know how much he is loved and appreciated.

Our father is caring, giving, and extremely generous to everyone around him. Not only has he taken care of all of us, his five children, for over 30 years, but he takes care of thousands of patients every year as a urological surgeon in Manhattan. Our father would do anything in his power to keep his family happy and safe, just as he goes to great lengths to treat his patients. As far as we are concerned that often meant dad making time to play a game of catch in the backyard after a long day at work or spending hours proofreading school essays for us. In the eyes of his patients, things are a little more serious and often involve a scalpel and IV medication. But no matter what it is that he does for any of us, we can be sure of one thing: He does not do these things out of obligation and he does not do these things because they are expected of him. Instead, our father devotes his time and effort to his family and his work because he loves them. The pride he derives from his family is easy to detect on his smiling face and the satisfaction he gets from saving the lives of his patients is hard to miss as he comes home after operating on a six hour case. To put it simply, our dad is happiest when those around him are happy too.

This sense of contentment with his life is well-deserved. Our father has been the loving and devoted husband to our mother, Debbie, for 33 years and has watched his family grow to include five kids, two daughters-in-law, two sons-in-law, 4 grandchildren, and many pets. To those who know him, he is not only Howard or Howie, but he is, more importantly, Daddy, Dad, Grandpa, Poppy, or Pa. This is what he lives for and this is what he loves the most. This becomes quite clear when he has been spotted cheering on the sidelines of his sons' soccer games, driving his kids to playdates, applauding at countless dance recitals, and watching Disney movies over and over again. But it was not just the encouragement we have received or the fun we have had with our dad that we most appreciate. It is the fact that we have become the people we are today that we owe most to our parents.

We have been given many pieces of parental guidance over the years, but the one that sums everything up and gets right to the core of our father is simple: "You can never go wrong by doing the right thing." The "right thing" is what our dad has always shown us and is what we continue to strive for ... and for that we nominate him for Father of the Year 2004.

-Jonathan, Richard, Robin, Meredith, and Amanda Schiff

Everyday I tell my father how much I love him. I could never thank him enough for being the father that he is. He had to jump into the role of mothering my sisters and I since my mom passed away many years ago. He did this with great compassion and understanding although I'm sure it was frightening raising three teenage girls.

He taught us that the moments that have just passed can never be given back to us and we should strive to be the best people we can possibly be. We have had many sit downs with a tremendous amount of support and nurturing. Sometimes it may just have been a hug and words weren't needed to feel the deep love of a father. My father only asks for my happiness in return.

Although we are grown with families of our own, the life lessons on growing up, love, and even cooking will be a part of us always and carried on through our children.

Thank you dad for your patience, courage and never ending support. I admire you, I am inspired by you and I love you.

Karen Fontana-Bruning

Port Washington is lucky enough to have among us, a truly outstanding father. He is smart, kind, and generous with his time, a good natured person. You have seen him helping many places: Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, elementary and middle school (Weber) productions, community theatre and activities, which is only some of the list that I know about. Let me tell you more about this great dad. His name is Paul Ferguson.

Paul Ferguson and his wife have five kids. Five happy, healthy children. This along keeps him very busy between schools, baseball, drama, playdates, you name it. Paul is very busy in his children's lives. He is a lucky man to be able to enjoy time with his kids, everyday. Time is precious.

Paul has also been like a father to my son, Kyle. While rearing five of his own children, Paul often makes time for mine. He has been there for my family since my husband, Bob, passed away Dec. 19, 2003, after a brief illness. It was a busy time of year, six days before Christmas. Paul helped immediately. I was numb, Paul helped. He put up our Christmas tree, at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve, with Kyle helping. While I grieved, Paul helped my children, checking on them constantly, to see if they needed anything. He has had talks with my kids that only a dad would do. Recently I became ill at home and then needed to be hospitalized. Paul took in my dog and kids without even blinking. I was ill for 10 very long days. I was comforted by the fact that Kyle was with such a great dad, and a friend of his own dad. Kyle was in good hands. No worries. So thanks, Paul, for sharing and caring. What a great dad.

Eileen Lewis

Dear Dad,

It's been over a year since you were unexpectedly taken from my life. The grief I felt would range from shock drifting into confusion, then to anger and finally settle into depression. In the past year I've gone through a process but it is this day I am taking the time to tell you that I am thankful. Thankful to God for blessing me with the most wonderful dad a daughter could ever ask for. I will forever miss our 5 a.m. coffee together and the way you would kiss me on my forehead before leaving for work. The way you would always be singing after coming out of the shower, the way we loved listening to the Beatles, the way you would come home after playing golf and sit in your recliner with a Heineken in your hand and watch some more golf. I miss your spirit, your bright smile and your infectious laughter. But most of all I miss asking you for advice because you were the wisest most practical man I ever knew. I take that wisdom with me forever and someday I will pass it on to my children. Happy father's day, daddy. I love you with all my heart. We all miss you.

Love, your daughter,

Nicole

The word "father" means a lot more to me than most people I know. Maybe that's because I tend to link the word "father" with "hero." In the dictionary, the definition of the word "hero" is: a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose. When I reflect upon that, I cannot think of a more suitable person I know in my life today who fits that definition. There are many reasons why I think I have a remarkable father.

My father wakes up at 6 a.m every morning to walk the dog, something my sisters and I probably should be doing because we were the ones who wanted it in the first place. Then he hurries off to catch the train into the city where he works as a money manager, something he is good at because he loves to do it. About two years ago, my dad decided to start his own company. He dedicates long hours between both jobs trying to continue the success of both companies. I admire this because my father has worked to get the position he holds in that company and his own. My father was certainly not handed anything on a silver platter as a child and had to apply himself in college so he could attend a good graduate school. My father is a very hard worker, and his success story in business has inspired me. I am now put to the belief that if I work at something I love continuously, I can make a success out of whatever I wish to in life.

After his day in the city, its time for softball practice; he is the coach of two teams: both my sister Casey (grade 8) and Natalie (grade 5). There isn't one day during the week that at least one of the two teams doesn't have practice or a game. My dad is a great coach. I don't say that because I think so, I say that because I know it's true. My dad has played baseball, and has had a love for the game ever since he was little. I guess being that he has three daughters; he had to shift gears slightly and learn the basics of softball. Every year when the softball season rolls around, my sisters and their friends are ready to enjoy the excitement that awaits them on the field. My dad is not one to care so much about winning, which makes him different from my sister's other coaches for the other sports they play. My dad looks to every individual girl's strength on the field, and puts them in a position on the field in which he feels they will shine through. He brings positive spirit upon the field and even after a lost game (which is rare might I add) he always brings the team together to remind them all of the high points they had during that game.

My dad recognizes that his skills in money managing can be put to good use in our community as well. My dad is the school board president, and is also on the finance committee at St. Peter's school. He also wakes up early on Sunday mornings to attend the 7:30 mass and then sticks around to count the money at every collection thereafter until the 12 o'clock mass is over. These are all the things that my father gives to our community and church that he is not paid to do and takes little recognition for his services. My father also does all of our extended families' taxes when the season rolls around each year.

My father plans for things terrifically. He has taken us on some great vacations that he has planned for himself. He has also taken time off from work to take me to visit colleges. I think just this past two months, we have visited nine colleges together. My father amazes me. He seems to make time for everyone in my immediate family, extended family and the community. I don't think I give my father (my hero) enough appreciation for the exceptional man that he is. This is why I think my father deserves the Father-of-the-Year 2004 award.

I am nominating my fiance, Robert Randel to be the Father-of-the-Year 2004.

It has been 2 1/2 years since I met "Bobby" and it has been this long since he has been the father-figure to my 8-year-old son Brandon. He has assumed the responsibility of being his Dad. He has given him a childhood memory one should have ... full of love, responsibility, fun and laughter.

He has been there for us, for Bran ("my son," he calls him). Every morning at the bus stop, go fishing in the bay, go hit a bucket, watch movies, eat out for dinner.

Even though I cannot wait to be his wife this fall of 2004, nothing has been satisfying more than seeing Bobby and Brandon bond like a real father and son.

Almost a year ago Brandon wanted a second dog so that it would be more fun to play with two dogs and so that our other dog, "Wizzer" would have somebody to play with while we are all out at work or at school. I wasn't fond of the idea but my two boys (Bobby and Brandon) begged me....I agreed to do it as long as Bobby quit his bad habit of smoking and to my surprise, he did it! He rescued a dog, "Buddy" from the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter and up to this day, he is cigarette-free. The willpower to please Brandon, "Wizzer" and me, not to mention "Buddy" finding a new home to live is amazing to all of us.

I've only known my father (Ken Schachter) for 18 months, but I have a whole list of reasons why he should be considered for "Father of the Year." Here is just a sample:

- He has read "Barnyard Dance" one thousand times, but each time it is with new energy.

- He tells me funny stories and makes funny faces when he's changing my diaper, or fixing my morning bottle, or driving me to day care, or just sitting with me on the front porch.

- He likes to wrestle with my older brother, Ari, although he never seems to win.

- He thinks everything I do is fascinating, and even though I can't talk much yet he always seems to know what I need.

I'm too young to write this, but my Mommy knows how I feel. She can tell by the way I watch for Daddy at the front door when

It's time for him to come home from work, and by the way I squeal with delight when I see him.

The following essay will tell all about my father, Stuart Rosen.

My dad is the best man, dad, and husband in the whole wide world. He is just so lovable. He always puts me, my sister, and my mom before himself. My, my sister and my mother are so happy we have him around. Even my dog is crazy about him.

My dad is so caring. He never ever misses any school, dance, or camp function my sister and me may have. And he really helps my nana Eve out because recently her husband, my dad's dad, and my grandpa passed away. He takes me trick or treating every year. And on the weekends he does whatever the rest of my family wants to do so his weekends are never his own.

My dad is just so funny. He has such a great sense of humor. He's just so hysterical. He can do anything to make me laugh. He can make you laugh when you are blue. And he can make you smile when you are sad. He always does that for me.

My dad is a shining star. He has accomplished many amazing things. I.E. building a house, opening up a business, making a family, always being there, and being the best he can be. And in my eyes he really is a father-of-the-year but maybe he can be to you too.

In conclusion please pick my daddy for father of the year - he really deserves it. And even if you don't pick him ... he will always be the daddy I love.


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