Stories of Awesome Dads for Father’s Day

It's Father's Day this weekend, and here are some inspiring stories of dads in historic and modern times.

Father’s Day is a time to celebrate all the men in your life who’ve helped you become the undoubtedly awesome person you are today, whether they’re listed on your birth certificate or not. This Sunday, take your dad or favorite father figure out for a steak dinner (or vegan curry, if that’s what he prefers), and reflect on all the men who’ve made a difference in your life. And, if you’d like some inspiration from history and modern times, here are some super-cool fathers worthy of commemorating, too.

The man who inspired Father’s Day

This Civil War veteran fathered six children. Sadly, his wife passed away in childbirth with the last child, leaving Smart to raise the whole brood on his own—and he obviously did it well. When his daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, grew up, she heard a sermon for the newly created Mother’s Day holiday, and pressed the Spokane Ministerial Alliance for a similar holiday in honor of fathers, suggesting her own father’s birthday, June 5th, as the date for the holiday. The Alliance agreed, but designated the holiday for the third Sunday of June, when it’s been celebrated ever since.

The “Burrito Boyz” dad

When Michael Johnson’s 12-year-old son Alec asked for an iPad and other expensive gifts for Christmas in 2010, Michael knew he needed to help his son learn better priorities. He asked his son to help him make some burritos for residents of a local homeless shelter in downtown San Diego. “I first thought it was actually a punishment to teach me a lesson, but it turned out to be fun.”

Alec and his dad enjoyed it so much, in fact, that they’ve been doing it every weekend since, and have recruited others into their group of “Burrito Boyz.” They’ve made more than 33,000 burritos since then.

“The boys realized they are making a difference,” Michael told Yahoo News. “It wasn’t their original intention, but I think now they are really starting to get the fact they’re significant and they’re making a big impact on a large problem that we have in our city.“

Dad builds a homemade roller coaster

While this dad hasn’t publicly taken credit for his accomplishment, this video shows the result of his days of labor, building a 12-foot roller coaster in the backyard for his young daughter to play on. That’s bound to be a ride she’ll never forget.

Walking 30,000 miles in memory of a son

In 1999, Steve Fugate was partway through a trek across the Appalachian Trail when he received devastating news: His only son, Stevie, had committed suicide. He returned home, and could think of nothing but his pain for the next eight months. But finally, in an attempt to heal, he returned to the spot where he’d ended his hike, and decided to finish it, crying the entire time. “While out on the trail in solitude, surrounded by the magnificent, inspiring beauty that encompasses that soothing and healing footpath, my life took a turn,” he wrote on his website. “For me, the Appalachian Trail became a pathway back to life.”

From there, Fugate decided to go on a mission, hiking from coast to coast with a message of hope and a sign that says “Love Life.” He kept walking for 12 years, covering more than 30,000 miles, and connecting with people everywhere he went.

“People would see that ‘Love Life’ sign, and if they were hurting I guess they were thinking ‘Hey, this guy must know something about loving life—maybe he can help me,’” he told the San Jose Mercury News.

Tell us about your own awesome dad. Write a comment about your favorite father memory below!