North Valley fathers speak from the heart about fatherhood
LOCALS SPEAK FROM THE HEART ABOUT FATHERHOOD.
Father to Emerson and Addison
Single dad Chadwick Fowler bonds with his children over afternoon bike rides, hiking, and a host of other outdoor activities. “Time spent together and traditions are important to us,” says Fowler.
What really makes him happy is to see his children grow into kind and thoughtful people. “My son is always quick to open and/or hold the door for others. That makes me proud. And my daughter is completely selfless. Oftentimes she earns an award for something and she either asks if her brother can have one, or shares whatever she receives with him. And she does that with no prompting.”
“My father’s two greatest gifts to me: teaching me to be a gentlemen and how to be comfortable in any room. But my father’s best advice was that should I find myself to be the smartest person in that room, to seek another room. Always surround yourself with people that make you aspire to be better.”
Father to Madeline, Cash, and Jacob
For Adam Toren, being present and available for his kids each day is a priority. “We love having great conversations, going on nature walks, and especially love Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona,” he says. Meanwhile, Toren always has his grandfather’s words in mind as a parent: “Keep your nose to the grindstone.”
Father to Chris and Michael
Tears spring to Anthony Aquino’s eyes when he thinks about the birth of his two boys. Family means everything to Aquino, who bonds with his oldest, Chris, over soccer and their favorite team, AC Milan. “With my youngest, Michael, it’s cars. He is learning to be an auto mechanic and I love cars as well,” says Aquino, who’s instilled in his sons what his father taught him.
“My father was an immigrant from Italy. He wasn’t much about giving advice as much as he led, and I learned, by example. How to treat people, how that you need to put your best effort into anything that you want to do to be successful.”
Father to Kassidy, Kyle, and Kaitlyn
Zachary Madrigal counts his blessings when he thinks about his family. Over the years, the Madrigals have prioritized family time and have made many memories. “Just a few: Kassidy, Kyle, and Kaitlyn playing club and high school soccer having a great time, smiling, laughing, and giggling with their friends and Robin and I spending evenings, weekends, and weekdays with their teammates’ parents,” says Madrigal. Their annual family trip to Grand Haven, Michigan, has also given the Madrigals memories to cherish for a lifetime.
“We really bond over sports, going out for dinners, hanging out, and working out. We are a soccer family and I am a soccer dad. We have so many things in common and we
are very blessed our kids really like spending time with us and I get so excited when they ask for advice from me as they are now young adults,” says Madrigal, who keeps his own father’s advice in mind. “My dad had always said be persistent and never give up! You will always be successful if you fight for the right reasons, and aspire to be someone that people can trust.”
Father to Brayden and Brielle
“My favorite memory as a dad happened when it started raining at Disney and everyone left and we stayed to go on the kiddie rides like 20 times each and had smiles on our faces from ear to ear and we didn’t care how wet we were, and just enjoyed the moment,” says Kenny Hack.
The father of two bonds with his son, Brayden, over sports. “We make up games in the backyard and play them and now I get to coach him in competitive soccer. My daughter, Brielle, and I bond over our walks. We take our dog for a walk and that moment is priceless with her because she would hold my hand the whole time and she asks many questions during that time,” says Hack, whose father also gave him some very important advice. “My father said to open my mind. What I think he meant by it is to open my mind about what is actually out there and see the big picture and know that it’s capable of achieving with hard work and dedication, and to open my mind to change and new ideas.”
Father to Josie and Drake
Keith Teegardin’s happiest memories as a father have been the moments where he learns how to connect and communicate with his kids to teach them to be better than their parents and to allow them to make mistakes and let them prove character to themselves. “It’s so fun to watch the lessons we learned while growing up try to be passed on yet our kids have to test principles out anyway, just like we did with our parents,” says Teegardin.
“My kids and I bond over our family meetings on Sunday nights; my wife and I and our two kids share something that happened the week before with joy, passion, pain, anger, and love and then we finish with what we have going on for the next week. This has taught all of us to listen, have empathy, and prove that we all have a right to our feelings and we should honor one another with how we feel. We have done this for five years now and we all are very tight and connected. It is beautiful,” he says. As for the best advice Teegardin’s dad gave him: “Life is a short vacation so keep it simple, we create 99 percent of our own problems so let go, enjoy, and be grateful.”
Father to Marc Jr. and Makana
“My happiest memories stem from watching my son come into this world—and drawing his first breath. From then on, I love hearing him laugh the kind of laughter that truly comes from his soul. It also means so much to watch him make character-building decisions like when he stood up for a girl that was being bullied. These types of memories and instances reflect that character matters and it’s so refreshing to see my son portray this type of admirable behavior,” says Marc Raciti, who bonds with both his sons over movies, food, video games, and martial arts.
“My father gave me the best advice that has always stuck with me. He said, ‘Bring passion or stay home.’ Meaning to bring passion to everything I do—from large to small, every situation counts and means something to someone. So, why not give it your all?”
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