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2017 Father of the Year

Father’s Day Council of Victoria has announced 46-year-old Geelong father of three Jason Stack as the Victorian Father of the Year for 2017.

2017 is the 61st Year the Victorian Father of the Year has been awarded.

Jason’s story is a testament of the strength of family when faced with tragedy. It is also a tale of unbelievable resilience and a father’s determination to provide stability for his family.
Nominated by Jason’s 14-year-old daughter Adele, she wrote, “My dad is my best friend. He is a powerful and amazing man and I look up to him every day.” For Adele and her sisters, 16-year-old Kyralee and 19-year-old Courtney, Jason is the reason why their family has not only survived, but has overcome adversity and inspired them to live each day to the fullest.

In 2013, three days before Mother’s Day the Stack family’s world was turned upside down. While Jason and his daughters were at work and at school. Jason’s wife Kim attempted to take her own life. There were no signs or symptoms of mental illness. When she was found she was rushed to hospital and spent 12 days in intensive care, followed by three months in hospital.
Heartbreakingly, Kim did not recover fully and as a result of her injuries she required full-time care. She spent the next three years of her life in a nursing home, visited frequently by her loving family who struggled to come to terms with the mother they had lost, suddenly and unexpectedly. Sadly Kim passed away in 2016.

The trauma and heartbreak felt by the family, and that they continue to feel is unimaginable. Yet despite this Jason has strived to provide stability and care for his three daughters to ensure they continue to live their lives and aspire to positive futures.

Every day Jason wakes at 5am and works tirelessly at his two businesses in Geelong, an electrical contracting business and a part-owned building business. Despite often working 15 hours days, when he returns home he cooks dinner and spend time with his family. He is heavily involved with community events such as school functions and has been a volunteer as the Netball President of the Newtown and Chilwell Football and Netball Club for the last two years. He also takes his role as both mum and dad seriously, maintaining a good sense of humour he helps his daughters go bra shopping and chats openly about other girl issues.
Close friend Paul Wilks said, “Jason’s the model dad. He’s always been someone that I look up to even before the tragedy, he’s hardworking but he always makes time for his kids. He’s always thinking of others, especially family. He’s done everything in his power for it to not affect the girls as much as possible. It’s a good story because he’s making the most of what’s happened.”
Business partner and close friend Glenn Hammond said the award is well-deserved, “Jason always put the girls first. I don’t know how he does it all.”
14-year-old daughter Adele thinks of her father as a super hero, she wrote in the nomination: “I don't know in this world where I would be if I didn't have him in my life. Somehow my dad is such a strong and happy person.
“With everything that goes on in our life, my dad has shown when life gets you down, you have to get up stronger and fight back. This is what my dad has done and has taught me for the last four years. “

As a result of their dad’s guidance and perseverance to enjoy their lives, Adele and Kyralee are thriving in their studies and are active in community sports. Courtney is currently studying medicine at Melbourne University.

2017 08 Father of the YearJason is an incredibly selfless and generous person and is open to share his story to promote suicide and mental health awareness, “I never, ever, thought I would be in this situation. If sharing this story can stop anyone from taking their life, it’s worth it.”
Jason is a humble and loving father and said that it is his children, parents, family and friends who have gotten him through the darkest moments of his life.
He said, “I wanted to hide for a long time, my daughters taught me how to live again. They are the amazing ones. They continue their studies, sports and friendships. They have every excuse to go off the rails, but they haven’t. They are normal happy kids.
“I’m hoping they can still aspire to all they wanted to be when they grow up. I’m trying to guide them and do the best I can.”

Chair of the Father’s Day Council Peter Burns said the award recognised the importance of fathering and family life. He said in the 61st Year of the Victorian Father of the Year he was honoured to present the award to a father who goes above and beyond for their family.

“The Council and YMCA received more than 1100 nominations from across the state for an outstanding father figure.
“We look for a father or father figure who is dedicated to their family, who embraces fatherhood and inspires others. Jason represents an extraordinary father who has overcome adversity and continues to guide his daughters, a father who is doing the best he can.”

Background to Father’s Day Council of Victoria
Since 1956, the Father’s Day Council of Victoria has named a Father of the Year for Victoria, to celebrate and recognise the important role fathers and father-figures play in family life. For the past twelve years the YMCA has partnered with the Council and co-ordinated the Local Community Father of the Year in every region where there is a YMCA. The Father’s Day Council of Victoria considers all Local YMCA Community Father of the Year recipients when selecting the Victorian Father of the Year as well as nominations directly submitted to the Council.

If you have been affected by this story please contact Lifeline, Suicide Call Back Service, Kids Helpline or MensLine Australia.
Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelpline.com.au
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 www.mensline.org.au

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