This one is for the dads.
This one is for the dads. To commemorate Father’s Day, we found some memorable stories from the past year of men doing seemingly extraordinary things – but for a dad, it’s just what a dad is supposed to do.
- California dad Zachary Petite leapt into action to save his toddler son from drowning in a swimming pool in May. Petite, a fire engineer and paramedic, dove in after his son after he jumped into the pool without a life vest and nearly drowned. Petite’s quick actions saved his son and he fortunately was unharmed.
- Former NFL running back Peyton Hillis nearly died in January rescuing his two kids from drowning off Pensacola Beach in Florida. Hillis was hospitalized for nearly two weeks and placed on a ventilator but was expected to make a full recovery, and his kids were safe and healthy.
- Actor Jeremy Renner, a father of one, jumped into action to save his 27-year-old nephew from an out-of-control snowplow and was grievously injured in the process. Renner saved his nephew but broke over 30 bones and was hospitalized for weeks and is on the road to recovery.
- Oregon dad Ryan Acord was on a hike with his two sons and their friend when disaster struck. They found themselves on the wrong trail, and the three boys fell over an embankment. Acord saved the children from disaster, at the cost of his own life. According to a GoFundMe set up by the family by his sister-in-law, “Ryan lost his life doing what he loved most…he didn’t die for nothing, he risked his life to save a child.”
- This last story is a little different. Two-year-old Xavier Dimples was trapped inside a burning house when firefighter Jeff Ohs braved the danger, pulled him to safety and resuscitated the toddler, saving his life. Twenty-three years later, Dimples reunited with Ohs and introduced him to his two-year-old son, the same age Dimples was when he was rescued. Dimples tweeted, “When I was 2 years old my house caught on fire & I was trapped inside, I ended up dying that day & this firefighter, Jeff Ohs, saved me from that building & brought my back to life. Now 23 years later he is holding my 2 year old son. I literally wouldn’t be here without him.”
- “When I was 8, maybe 9 years old, there was a day when students in my class could bring their parents to school. Students stood at the front of the room to say what they wanted to be when they grew up and why. In my dad’s telling, another widowed parent called him that evening to tell him about my ad-libbed speech. My speech, which left me in tears, began, “When I grow up, I want to be a dad.”” (Trent Davis Bailey for the New York Times)
- “All my life, my father was a flyer. That’s not quite right. He wasn’t flying at the end. He lived to be nearly 85. But even deep into his 70s, I was unafraid to go up with him, to wonder at his skills. I’m looking at some yellowed notes dated August 1983. He had retired from his 30-year career at Eastern Airlines. By then, it had been almost four decades since he was strapped into the cockpit of his P-61 Black Widow night fighter on Iwo Jima in the last days of World War II.” (Paul Hendrickson for the Washington Post)
- “Forget Tom Hanks. Harrison Ford is America’s real dad. His characters have a more authentic edge, more flaws and at times are more interested in career over family. Ford has been in over 70 films which have earned more than $9 billion. He is a leading man among leading men.” (David Allan for CNN)
- “I happened to read [The Tenant of Wildfell Hall] recently, when my own father was on my mind because the first anniversary of his death was approaching. It occurred to me that I had experienced something like the inverse of Helen’s handicap: I had been known and loved by a good father, a model of what a man should be — a benediction that his death hadn’t altered.” (Katherine Howell for National Review)
- “The United States has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent homes, Pew Research finds, with nearly a quarter (23%) of American children under 18 living with just one parent. This generally means children living with their mother. This absence of fathers from our kids’ daily lives has created children on the fringes who are in many ways lost. I know because I was one of them.” (Adam B. Coleman for the New York Post)
- “I was 33 when my father died, but in my grief I felt like a small child, not an adult who already had children. It’s taken me years to understand that I was a child, even longer to grasp that I will be a child forever because time is an acid-tripping, unreliable narrator. In the days and weeks after my father died, every time I saw a person in his 60s, I had this sequence of thoughts: He sees me and remembers when he was my age. He can’t believe how fast 30 years went by. I’ll be 65 before I know what hit me. And then I’ll be dead.” (Jim Sollisch for the Wall Street Journal)
Happy Father’s Day to my dad, who I can say without bias is the greatest dad in the history of the world. While your humble correspondent is not a father (yet), I can say with certainty that if I’m even half the father my dad is, then my kids are going to turn out okay. And a special Happy Father’s Day to all of the new dads out there who became fathers for the first time this year, including some special people in my life who I am so blessed to watch grow into fatherhood.
© Dominic Moore, 2023