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Joint Chiefs Chairman Named "Father of the Year"

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

NEW YORK, June 18, 2004 – America's No. 1 military officer recently became America's No. 1 Dad.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
2004 "Father of the Year" awardees pose at their honoree luncheon in New York June 17. Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers joins other "Father of the Year" awardees, from far left, prior recipient Bill Boggs, a four-time Emmy award winning TV host and; Ellis L. Marsalis, modern jazz pianist; Isiah Thomas, NBA manager; Richard Petty, NASCAR champion; Tommy LaSorda, baseball Hall of Fame manager; and Brian Williams, MSNBC news anchor, who served as master of ceremonies for the event. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

During a luncheon here June 17, Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers was honored as the 2004 "National Father of the Year" by the National Father's Day Council.

His wife, Mary Jo, along with daughters, Nicole and Erin, and son, Richard Jr., were on hand to see Myers receive the award.

The council, a non-profit organization established in 1931, recognizes contemporary male leaders each year.

Also receiving Father of the Year honors in other categories were former NBA player and now New York Knicks' general manager Isiah Thomas, NASCAR racing legend Richard Petty, jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr., and National Baseball Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda.

Lasorda called the general a "great American" and "great leader." And pointing to Myers, he said "America can feel pretty safe with our military in the hands of that man over there."

Thomas also offered kind words, thanking Myers for "keeping all of us safe," and "allowing my kids to continue to live freely in a country as great as ours."

During his acceptance speech, Myers said being named Father of the Year is a "great honor," but his concern at the moment was for the future security of America's children.

Referring to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, he asked the audience what they want it to be like when their children "wake up tomorrow?" He said that kind of thinking motivates him daily, "not just for my children and grandchildren, but yours as well."

He added that being a father means "thinking about the kind of world you want to leave your children and grandchildren."

Myers said today, more than ever, children need to have "good role models, in their fathers, mothers and in the family."

And that's why he also thanked parents in the audience for giving the country the "terrific young men and women of the Armed Forces."

"Where they get their values, where they get their motivation, where they get their love of country is from moms and dads," he said. "For those fathers and those mothers: a special thank you."

Myers said sons and daughters make up the 2.4 million members of the armed forces who are "making sure the events of 9/11 never happen again."

Paul Rosengard, vice president for the National Father's Day Council's board of directors, said he nominated Myers for this year's honor because many of the "core military values resonate with our board when selecting honorees."

"Honor, integrity, work ethics and commitment to self-improvement, education and family are the cornerstone of a military way of life," he noted.

"General Myers is a great role model for fathers across the nation."

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Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

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