Rockwall dad honored as YMCA Father of the Year

Shawn and Kelly Britton and family. Shawn is the Rockwall YMCA's 2013 Father of the Year.

(Rockwall) June 21, 2013 – Father’s Day was founded by Sonora Louis Smart Dodd, the daughter of a single father who served in the Civil War. Her father was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd’s mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child.

Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington State. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.

On Mother’s Day in 1909, Smart Dodd heard a sermon honoring mothers and wondered why there was no similar tribute for fathers. With the support of ministers and the YMCA in Spokane, Smart Dodd launched the first Father’s Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. Finally in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day and President Nixon signed Father’s Day into law in 1972.

Each year in celebration of Father’s Day, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas honors one father from each of its Y branches. The award-winning dad from the JER Chilton YMCA at Rockwall is Shawn Britton. He and other area “2013 Fathers of the Year” were recognized during a family celebration on June 18 at Adventure Landing in Dallas.

Nominations for Fathers of the Year were accepted from children, spouses, friends, YMCA staff members or fellow Y volunteers. Each nomination required the inclusion of an essay explaining why the individual should be named 2013 YMCA Father of the Year.

Shawn’s wife, Kelly, wrote this about her husband and father of their four children:

“Shawn is the most extraordinary father to our four children. He is not only their mentor, but their hero. He makes sure that their every need is taken care of, even at his own sacrifice. He is completely selfless when it comes to his children. Shawn has been a coach on the field – to our children and countless others. He is our spiritual leader in our church and home. He has taught our children about morals and goals and never to give up no matter what the challenge is. He is a firm believer in continually teaching about leadership and community involvement.”

“Shawn not only is an incredible father, but he gives back to the community countess hours every year coaching, volunteering and serving on community boards. It is very important to him to lead a life that his children will respect and be proud of. Shawn has coached many children here in Rockwall, and often hears, “Hey, there’s Coach,” anytime we are out in the community. He has loved watching all of these children grow and develop into the young adults they are becoming today. Shawn will take time out of his schedule to go watch his former players, play at the middle schools and high school and is proud that he helped lay a part of their foundation. He believes in a better Rockwall at all levels and takes pride in what these youth are going to provide.”

Gordon Echtenkamp, president/CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas said, “Every year we receive so many outstanding nominations for this award. Narrowing the field is always a difficult task, yet we realize what wonderful and positive parenting is happening on a daily basis in our community.”

Congratulations, Shawn!


The JER Chilton YMCA is located at 1210 N. Goliad St. in Rockwall. Visit them online or call them at 972-772-9622.


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