Local Dad Honored as Father of the Year

Clint Elliott, District Executive Director at JER Chilton YMCA at Rockwall (far right), presents the 2019 YMCA Father of the Year plaque to Ruben Flores, accompanied by Ruben’s wife and children. Photo by Richard Redig.

(ROCKWALL, TX – June 14, 2019) Ruben Flores, devoted father of three and member of the J.E.R. Chilton YMCA at Rockwall, was named 2019 Father of Year during a recent celebration at Dave and Buster’s in Dallas. He was among several Dallas area dads to earn this title from within their respective local community.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas established the Father of the Year award to recognize the significant impact fathers make in the lives of their children.  Each year, nominations for Father of the Year are accepted from family members and friends in each local community.

“Who better to know how deep caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility flow through the veins of a man than the person who is by their side, day in and day out? I am nominating my husband, Ruben Flores, for Father of the Year because he exemplifies these four core values in ways I would never be able to complete in a simple short essay,” wrote Ruben’s wife, Jannette, in her nomination letter. “Before we had children and time was not an issue, I watched him volunteer endless hours in his community and church, fundraising for cancer patients, staffing a booth for church events, and even growing out his hair for locks of love. He never sought out recognition. I have watched Ruben discreetly pick out the struggling homeless man outside of a restaurant and buy his lunch. I have seen him be undercharged at a grocery store, and respectfully help a young girl correct herself at a cash register so that she would avoid trouble at closing time…I watched him one day, without prompt, tell me that he would quit his successful career in a community college so that our children would have at least one parent at home with them…”

Nicolette Attar, a family friend, described Ruben as “a rare gem…a kind and generous human being” who is always willing to lend a hand to others, even while serving as the primary caretaker of his three children (age 7, 4, and 2).

Amy Martinez wrote in her nomination letter that Ruben is the “most loving, caring, kind-hearted, respectful, honest, hardworking husband, great friend, and especially wonderful dad. He is a role model that each dad should follow.”

Ruben’s award was announced just in time for Father’s Day – a tradition that many people may not realize began with the YMCA.  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.

“The thing about Ruben is that he gives whatever he can, however he can. But oftentimes the giving that Ruben provides is through his smile and warmth. Ask any Rockwall YMCA morning staff member and child watch staff member about Ruben Flores, and they will likely respond positively, likely because he takes the time to know each person. And when I see my three young children look up to their father and observe the way he treats the world, I just know deep inside my heart that the seeds of love and respect that he is spreading around the world are going to make the world a better place for my children to live in, and that my children will in turn grow up to share these attributes of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility because of him,” wrote Jannette.

By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News. Photo by Richard Redig. 

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