The Queensland Father of the Year for 2010 is:
Gladstone father of five, Nathan Woods, is the 2010 Queensland Father of the Year.
Mr Woods and his wife, Janine, have five children at home aged 10 months to 6 years. Four are aboriginal foster children. Mr Woods and his wife say their aim is to provide a safe, loving environment for their young foster children.
He is active in the local little athletics club and swimming club. He and his wife are members of a local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island parent group.
Mr Woods works as a cleaner at Gladstone State High School and has recently taken on a role in the school tuckshop. He was nominated for the award by the Gladstone State High School Chaplaincy Committee.
Mr Woods said he found the award overwhelming. “I find it hard to believe,” he said. “It’s very rewarding being a parent and a lot of hard work.
“I have a great wife, great family and a great support network. I love to see the kids reach milestones and see them grow.
“For me every day is Father’s Day. The reward for me is that my kids love me. That’s all I ask for.”
Brisbane Father of the Year
David Howell is the 2010 Brisbane Father of the Year.
A father of nine children, Mr Howell received his award at the Salvation Army’s Lawnton headquarters where he works within the Salvation Army’s emergency services department.
`It is nice to be there for someone, to look someone in the eye, to say there is hope, to give them a hug or a hamburger – whatever they need,” he said.
Mr Howell was thrilled to be nominated by his children. “The whole thing is about fatherhood. A lot of kids need dads, men to stand up and be dads,” he said.
Central Queensland Father of the Year
Gladstone man Nathan Woods is the 2010 Central Queensland Father of the Year.
Nathan and his wife Janine have five children between the ages of 10 months and six years and four of the children are foster children.
Nathan said he found the award pretty overwhelming. “I find it hard to believe, it’s very rewarding being a parent and a lot of hard work,” he said.
“I have a great wife, great family and a great support network. I love to see the kids reach milestones and see them grow.”
Nathan was nominated for the award by the Gladstone State High School Chaplaincy Committee.
Far North Queensland Father of the Year
The 2010 Far North Queensland Father of the Year is Cairns resident Kerry Eaton
A father to more than 200 children. With his wife, Anne, the father-of-five has looked after scores of foster kids in the past 20 years.
He was nominated for Far North Queensland Father of the Year by daughter Fiona, who thought it would be the ultimate Father’s Day gift. “It’s a bit overwhelming,” he said. “That my daughter nominated me in the first place is pretty special.
“Over the last 23 years we’ve cared for more than 200 children, so I’ve had a bit of practice.”
When asked, What makes a good dad? he answered, “It’s tolerance – being able to accept your kids for who they are and being supportive of them.”
Gold Coast & Logan Father of the Year
The Gold Coast & Logan Father of the Year is Sam Barnaba.
After wife Julie died three years ago, the 60-year-old was left to care for his two teenage daughters.
“I was a chef working late nights, seven-days-a-week and I knew my wife was there to carry on the goals we had set for our kids, then all of a sudden she was gone,” he said. “I had to drop everything. I couldn’t work. I dedicated my whole life, 24 hours a day, to them.”
“Stephanie, who nominated her Dad, said he helped both herself and her sister cope with their mum’s sudden death. “He was and still is the driving force behind our recovery and progression through the loss … especially mine,” she said.
The three share a love for soccer. “Steph and I both play soccer, so he’s always looking for that extra thing to make us better players and people,” said Nicole. “I look at Dad and think if I was half the person he is I would be pretty satisfied.”
Mr Barnaba, who has three adult daughters from a previous marriage, said he was humbled by the award. “It’s a tough job being a father and most should get an award,” he said. “When you start a family you never think you’re going to be named Father of the Year. It is just something you do.”
Mr Barnaba said the secret to being a good parent was getting your children to read, keeping them committed to something such as a sport or instrument, having discipline and love. “You just have to love them to death. It doesn’t matter what they do, just love, love and love,” he said.
North West Queensland Father of the Year
Winton resident Mal McQueen is the 2010 North West Queensland Father of the Year.
Mr McQueen, who runs Weston Station, a sheep property about 30 minutes’ drive outside Winton, has four children.
Mr McQueen was nominated for 2010 Queensland Father of the Year by Adam Walker, the school chaplain at his children’s school.
“The first time I thought Mal was a good father was when I saw him at quite a few of his kids’ sports days and school cluster days,” said Mr Walker. “He didn’t just travel over two hours from his sheep property to see his kids, but he also helped coach the school league team for a number of days. He also does coaching and fundraising for the junior rugby league team in his home town. On top of that he is involved in swimming and tennis clubs with his kids.
“I think Mal demonstrates a great commitment to raising his kids, contributes to the development and well-being of children in the community, and in so doing provides a great example to other fathers.”
South West Queensland Father of the Year
The 2010 South West Queensland Father of the Year is James Poole from Gatton.
Mr Poole was over the moon when he received news that his four children had nominated him
to be South West Queensland Father of the Year. He was even more ecstatic when he received the award.
Mr Poole is a spare parts sales man and president of Gatton State School P&C where he has been heavily involved as a parent for eight years.
His son Jackson, 10, and daughter Carly, 13, nominated him for the award. “My dad is the best dad in the world,” said Jackson. “He loves my three sisters, who my mum and dad adopted when they were babies, and myself very much.”
Jackson said his dad really helps and loves their school. “He has never missed any of my dance performances or eisteddfods and encourages me to live my dreams. Whenever someone needs a hand he is always there to lend a hand.”
Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Father of the Year
The 2010 Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Father of the Year is Alan McMullen.
His work as project manager with Gateway Community Care, which provides affordable food to more than 15,000 people across the Coast, has helped the not-for-profit organisation to flourish. Mr McMullen is also a regular volunteer at the Acts Church Outreach, which feeds the homeless at Happy Valley on Mondays.
Mr McMullen was nominated for the award by daughter Selena Nunn. Ms Nunn said her dad had always been there for her and siblings Justin, Luke and Simon.
She said that what made him stand out was his willingness to provide others in the community with the same care. “Dad always said to us, ‘Love God and help others’,” she said. “Whenever anyone asks him for help, whether it be to fix a car or help them buy a car or move house or cook at men’s breakfasts or fix anything, he does it with a glad heart.”
“To see the Gateway Community Care project come to fruition shows my kids that they can do something to make a difference in the community. They now volunteer here, too,” he said.