South's Greatest Dads 2019

When a knee is skinned, a dad is there as a medic. When a bike chain falls off a gear, a dad is there as a mechanic. When a child says they are thirsty, a dad is there to say “Hi, thirsty.” Here’s to the dads.

Jamie Deen

What do you wish for your child/children?
That they continue on the path they’re taking. Thankful, loving boys that have empathy for others, love for God, love for their momma and believe in doing the right thing, not the easiest thing.

What do you feel your role is as a Dad?
To lead by example in all things. As parents, we have to “eat the broccoli” too. Stay positive, strive to lead towards the good and build up others while always remaining equals with all people of any circumstance.

What have you learned about being a Dad?
My life personally, the important part, felt it began as a parent. Brooke and I grew tighter. The responsibility settled in on day one. I’ve found the most precious things in our lives are the small, quiet moments as a family. I’ve also learned that I’m a very patient person.

What inspires you as a Dad?
The boys’ future. Who I hope and pray that they will continue to grow and be leaders and good men. To be courageous and willing to work hard for the right things. Like raising children.

Jason Usry

What do you wish for your child/children?
There are a lot of things that I wish for Grayson, but chief among them is that he maintains his joyful demeanor and his cautious curiosity.  I hope that he continues to laugh and love as fully at 22 years old as he does at 22 months old.  He possesses an old soul and I hope he keeps that trait throughout his life.

What do you feel your role is as a Dad?
I feel that my role as a dad is to protect, nurture, educate and encourage.  Though he is young, he is a quick learner with a fearless attitude. I love seeing him figure things out and interact with others. I love watching him try different things and succeed at them.

What have you learned about being a Dad?
Being a dad is a huge learning experience.  I know there are really no rules or plug-and-play methods with which to raise a child.  I think it’s as much about flexibility and curiosity as it is about teaching right from wrong. I want to help him become the best version of himself and sometimes that’s about knowing when to get out of the way and just allowing him to soar.

What inspires you as a Dad?
I’m inspired as a dad because I get to experience the world through a child’s eyes again. Seeing him learn little things, walking with him through the store and having him tell me what different things are and then getting a chance to explain things to him… I’m inspired by those sparks of recognition… his joyful laughter… his full-on bear hugs, and hearing him say “Morning…” Every moment is one to cherish and I’m inspired each day because I know there are new experiences and adventures to be had.

Lukejohn Dickson

What do you wish for your child/children?
To not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of their mind and spirit.

What do you feel your role is as a Dad?
To always love and respect my wife, and for that to create a secure environment for our children to thrive in. To give loving discipline and commendation as an expression of loving concern. To be a good communicator by being a careful listener so they will, in turn, be far more likely to share their precious thoughts and feelings with me. To spend significant amounts of time with my children so that they DO NOT conclude that I care more for other things, such as my work, financial security, my friends, or my hobbies than I do for them.

3. What have you learned about being a Dad?
Love is elastic. The more children you have or the more quality time you give to your children, then the more you discover your capacity for love is stretchable and becomes greater.

What inspires you as a Dad?

From the day they are born my children trust me to always care and protect them. This natural instinct of trust inspires me to forever be faithful in nurturing and providing for them. This further inspires me to avoid the modeling of division, acts that would provoke them, or manipulative behavior.

Brandon Collins

What do you wish for your child/children?
I wish for my son to grow up and be successful in whatever he chooses to do.

What do you feel your role is as a Dad?
My role as a dad is a protector but also a teacher to my son. I want him to go out and don’t be afraid to make mistakes because nobody is perfect and to learn from the mistakes he does make.

What have you learned about being a Dad?
One thing I have learned while being a dad is never taking a day for granted. Before I know it, my son will be 18 and moving off to college! I want to soak in every memory I get to make with him.

What inspires you as a Dad?
The way that he looks at me. I want him to see that his dad is a strong, hard-working person but also can be someone he can come talk to if he needs!

Nathaniel Cook

What do you wish for your child/children?
To be an honest, happy and productive part of society. To peruse their aspiration and be successful in everything they seek to accomplish.

What do you feel your role is as a Dad?
To be a teacher, mentor and when needed a friend. It’s important to show your child what right looks like, to be discipline when necessary and love them unconditionally.

What have you learned about being a Dad?
It’s one of the hardest jobs besides being a mom, if you’re doing it right. I’ve also had to learn how to adapt as a person, hone my communication skills and learn when to admit you’re wrong. Raising another person isn’t easy and shouldn’t be done alone.

What inspires you as a Dad?
Being loved by and relied on by someone who loves you for just being you. Along with my wife and how hard she works to show her love and compassion for our family. As the owner of a small business in Savannah, she works tirelessly to ensure we are all taken care of; we couldn’t do it without her.

Best advice for dads/new dads?
Don’t abrogate your responsibility, admit when you’re wrong and always tell your children you love them. Show up when it doesn’t count (and when it does) make sure they know you support them. Most importantly do not discourage their tenacity, embrace it and encourage them to achieve the unobtainable.

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