Father of the year

Written by Meredith Olney

For 14 years the American Diabetes Association and the National Father’s Day council have joined forces to host the Father of the Year Awards dinner, honoring men from across the country for their commitment to fatherhood.

As diabetes continues to affect nearly 26 million American children and adults, the Father of the Year events have become an integral part of the fight against this debilitating disease. More than $40 million has been raised towards advocacy, education and research initiatives; a number both the American Diabetes Association and the National Father’s Day Council are proud of, but seek to increase as this important relationship continues to grow.

This year the Wichita area nominees reflect a group of successful professionals who are also inspiring role models. These are men who have taught their children to be good citizens and proud members of the communities they live in.

Austin Henry

Austin Henry is the National Sales Manager for Associated Industries, Inc., a composite material distribution company owned by his father, Mark, and his grandfather W.F. Henry.

Austin was born and raised in Wichita where he continues to be an influential member of the community, participating in the Northstar Masonic Lodge, Midian Shrine Temple and K.A.R.T. (Karters of America Racing Triad). When not busy with these groups, Austin volunteers as a campaign manager with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Austin and his wife Jennifer have two children: daughter, Morgan, 4 and son, Davis, 2.

Ric Freund

Ric Freund is a Planner at Cessna Aircraft, a company he has worked with for 16 years.

Ric has a history of being an active fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association, taking on the role of Captain with one of the organization’s top fundraising teams for the ADA Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes. The campaign has significant meaning to Ric, his wife Taryn and his sons Tristan, 4 and Cooper, 2 who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 8 months old.

Bob Hanson

Bob Hanson is the President/CEO of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. In this position Hanson has successfully elevated the organization to prominence within the community.

Under Hanson, the Wichita Area Sports Commission has expanded to include the Prairie Fire Marathon Race Series and the Johnny Bench Award, presented by the hall of famer himself.

Hanson was an influential member of the “Vote yea” Downtown Arena campaign that advocated supporting the construction and funding of INTRUST Bank Arena.

Hanson and his wife, Linda, have two daughters, two grand- daughters and a grand-son who also share in the honor of this nomination.

Jason Moeller

Jason Moeller is a Partner at Senior Care Pharmacy. Born and raised in Wichita, Jason has a diverse background in emergent care and can often be found sharing his experience at the Emergency Department at Via Christi Hospital at St. Francis.

Jason has recently joined Senior Care Pharmacy as a minority owner and continues to exercise his passion for long-term, residential care and medicine management.

Jason and his wife Alyssa have two sons Drake, 5 and Skylar,1, and two month old twin daughters Alexis and Stella.

Patti Tasker, Kansas Area Director for the American Diabetes Association, conveyed her excitement about this year’s Father of the year nominees:

“I’m extremely proud of the 2013 honorees. Our dads never cease to amaze me; they’re not only philanthropists, but they’re also juggling 3 month old twins, executing half/full marathons, managing a growing toddler with diabetes and competitive racing in the midst of their fundraising campaigns. The Father’s Day Council and I have high hopes for 2013 as the dads aspire to meet and exceed the annual goal. We have a wonderful mix of personalities, family-values and camaraderie with this year’s class. It’s a tight-knit group of supporters, past honorees, families and dedicated individuals driven to better the outcomes of adults and children with diabetes.”

Wichita’s Third Annual Father of the Year Awards Gala will be held on Friday, June 14th at the Wichita Hyatt Regency on 400 West Waterman.

To purchase tickets, make a donation and learn more about each of these local nominees visit www.diabetes.org/foty.

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