Fantastic fathers

Wichita dads share their stories

Written by Sara Garrison

Three Wichita dads share their stories of how being a father has impacted their lives and taught them lessons of unconditional love.

Shilo Fury

With seven children ranging in age from 3 to 18 years old, stay-at-home dad, Shilo Fury and his wife, local ob-gyn Dr. Anna Stork-Fury, have a very busy household, but the couple wouldn’t have it any other way.

From early on in their relationship, they always knew they wanted to have a big family. Today, Shilo and Anna are parents to Sierra, Claudia, Nathan, Sophia, Stella, Steele and Stone. “My wife comes from a big family and my dad had 14 kids in his family,” explains Shilo. “We love the camaraderie there is in a large family and from early on we wanted to surround ourselves with lots of kids.”

The couple grew up in Dubuque, Iowa — a town of 70,000 on the Mississippi River. They started dating in high school and they have been married for 20 years. Shilo and Anna moved to Wichita in 2002.

“Being a dad means everything to me. My full-time job is being a father and I couldn’t have a better job. It is so fulfilling in more ways than I can describe,” says Shilo. “Staying home with the kids taught me that our children are our biggest legacy. The legacy you leave behind on earth is by far and away the most important thing you can do. Teaching your children morality, compassion and a good work ethic in the end is fulfilling and a great gift to the world.”

Shilo continues, “I am eternally grateful for my wife, Anna. We are a good match. She is so nurturing to our children.”

In May, Shilo and Anna’s oldest child, Sierra, graduated from high school. Sierra will attend Missouri State University in the fall.

“It is going to be devastating to not have Sierra around every day,” says Shilo. “It will be interesting to see how the family dynamic shifts while she is at college. To see the different progressions of a child from ages 1 to 18 is a phenomenal experience. It is important to stop and smell the roses because time flies. It is important to cherish every moment you have with them.”

The Fury children are separated in age by about two years. This closeness in age has given the siblings an opportunity to build unique relationships with each other.

“In life, there is nothing greater than your kids. As a parent it is remarkable how each child is different from the next,” says Shilo. “You have to find ways to nurture each child and find what their interests are. The unique experience parenting each child makes being a parent so rewarding and enjoyable.”

Shilo adds, “Never forget how profound every word and action you make impacts your child. They’re a sponge and you, as a father, will have them emulating much of what you say and do.”

Shilo attributes his dad as being his role model for fatherhood. “My dad instilled in me a strong work ethic and compassion,” says Shilo. “He taught me to not take life so seriously, which helps along the way. There is a time for hard work, but it is important to do it all in good fun.”

Brett Bell

A single father with six children ranging in age from 7 to 17, Brett Bell loves being a dad.

“Being a dad means so much to me and is my greatest responsibility,” says Brett. “As a dad it is important for me to be present and provide structure and security to my kids.”

When Brett met his ex-wife Kristy, the couple were working together at American Express Financial Advisors, now Ameriprise Financial. Kristy was pregnant with her first child at the time and the couple later started dating.

While Kristy was pregnant, Brett participated in Lamaze class and was there for the birth of their daughter Maycee.

“From the day of Maycee’s delivery I knew I was going to be her dad,” says Brett. “Not a moment has gone by, when I didn’t feel like I was her dad.”

Brett and Kristy were later married and they had two additional daughters together, Emree and Brinklee.

“To be a father of girls is a big responsibility due to the insecurities teenage daughters have of being loved and having self-confidence without relying on outside validation,” says Brett. “Being a single dad of teenage daughters and learning the complexities of emotions girls experience. The phone and social media accentuate these issues. It’s hard because as a man it’s so natural to problem-solve and try to fix the issue with logic. It doesn’t work that way with girls so you have to listen and relate to the feelings of whatever is going on.”

About five years ago Brett and Kristy adopted their sons Arieous, Noah and Aayden.

“Through a local ministry, Faith Builders, we started out providing respite care for mothers who were trying to figure things out. We weren’t seeking adoption but it worked out that these three boys were in need of a long-term family,” says Brett. “Aayden was 2 weeks old, Noah was 8 months old and Arieous was just 2. As a dad, I want to be a good role model for these boys.”

In 2016, Brett and Kristy divorced. Today, they share joint custody of their children.

“We have found a good rhythm of co-parenting and partnering to make everything as good as possible for the kids,” Brett continues. “As a single dad, my role as a father is that much more important. I try to be present when I have them and meet them where they are. It’s challenging due to the age discrepancies. The needs and desires of the boys are drastically different from where the girls are at socially. So the boys and I find ourselves running the girls around town to their various activities, but we like to take advantage of ‘just the boys’ time to play ball, watch a ball-game, catch a movie or just hang out at the house.”

More than anything, Brett hopes his kids develop a strong sense of themselves and know that they are enough by just being who they are.

Brett explains, “I want my kids to know I am proud of them and they are loved.”

Jason Osgood

As a father who serves in the military, Jason Osgood works hard to attain a work-life balance by dedicating his free time to his children and family.

Jason and his wife Jennifer have been married for 12 years. Their children, Kathryn, Tyler, Owen and Brandon are 8, 6, 4 and 17 months old. The couple is also expecting their fifth child this August.

For the past 11 years as a KC-135 and T-1A pilot in the Air Force, Jason has been deployed six times at various locations overseas. Most recently, he toured for two months in Qatar.

“I love serving my country. Working in the military provides a unique opportunity where my job allows me to serve my country. Being deployed is a fantastic way to work hard, focus on work and develop yourself professionally and personally,” explains Jason. “However, whenever I am deployed it is like the family is on pause. When I come home it is so nice to hug my wife and play with my kids. It feels like life starts up again and it is an amazing experience to come home to my family.”

Jason credits Jennifer with keeping the family going while he is away. He continues, “Jennifer plays an incredible role as a mother to our kids and she means the world to me.”

As a dad, Jason has worked hard to attain the work-life balance many parents strive to attain.

“Years ago I was struggling with finding a work-life balance. I was finding myself working 55 hours in my job and trying to do the most I can for my country and squadron while not neglecting my family. I talked to my mentor who had been in the military for 26 years,” says Jason. “He told me it should be 100 percent, 100 percent meaning it is about an equation of quality of time, not quantity of time.”

This perspective gave Jason the outlook he tries to emulate in his life everyday as a pilot, husband and as a father.

“I try to give 100 percent effort to my job and 100 percent effort to my family. I try to cut out what does not add to my family,” Jason explains. “We don’t have cable TV, because that does not add value to the family. This added time allows me to spend my free time with my kids learning what is interesting to them and helping me focus on their interests.”

As a father of five, Jason hopes to develop a trusting relationship with his children that will provide a foundation for them as they grow. “When they get older I want my kids to know they can come to me with anything,” says Jason. “I want my kids to have great values, integrity and sincerity.”

Jason and Jennifer also hope to instill an attitude of gratitude in their kids. “At dinner, we like to go through a gratitude exercise,” explains Jason. “We ask our kids what they are grateful for that day. It opens up a great conversation. I want my kids to walk away from life being content with who they are, and being grateful for what they have.”

Jason encourages other fathers, including new fathers, to understand that it is ok to make mistakes.

“There is no instruction manual for being a father and failure is not your enemy,” says Jason. “Everyone makes mistakes, but learning from those mistakes and finding the positive in those mistakes, is what is important.”

 
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