A Martinez man found out Wednesday how much he means to his two children.
Jason Lutes was shocked at being named Columbia County Father of the Year by The Columbia County News-Times and the First National Bank and Trust Company. He was nominated through a grateful letter written by his two adopted children, Paige, 12, and Wesley, 15.
"He is the coolest dad," Paige said. "I thought it was really cool (that he adopted us). He really loves us. He really does and he shows that every day."
The children are active in band, chorus, Augusta Players and lots of church activities.
"He flat took them on hook, line and sinker," said Bob Center, a longtime family friend. "It is just amazing what he has done with them. I don't know that there has been too many practices either of them have been to without him. He makes practices. He makes performances. He is a good guy. They are a very neat family."
Jason Christopher Lutes was named Columbia County Father of the Year based on a nomination by his adopted children, Wesley and Paige Lutes.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
In addition to his name beginning a permanent plaque inside the bank, he will receive a plaque and American flag kit, and each child will receive a $500 savings bond.
Lutes knew the children and their mother Nancy, for all of their young lives. After nine months of dating, Lutes proposed to Nancy in front of the children in 1998.
According to the submitted letter, "he knew that he would be marrying all of us and he wanted to make us a complete family. That day happened on July 12, 2000, when we stood before Judge Allgood and he made us a legal family."
That day is celebrated each year with a fun day out, Paige said.
"It is a real fun day for us. It makes me think that we are really blessed. God has really blessed me and my family with my Dad."
After the news arrived, Lutes was speechless, he said, especially coming from children who, like others their ages, might be embarrassed by their parents.
"He is cool," Wesley said about the man known as "Big Dawg" who cooks a week's worth of meals for 100 campers on a grill at Crossbridge Baptist Church camp annually.
Lutes said that the best thing is that they think he is cool and allow him to be active in their lives.
"Not until you are their father do you know how extraordinary they are. They are amazing," he said. "Having great kids helps make a great father."
Through a rough year of illness and death among family and friends, Lutes said he is thankful to have the support of a great family to help them all through it. The children are thankful for him and said so in their nomination letter.
"One of the things we hear our Dad say over and over is that he is the 'richest man he knows.' He isn't talking about worldly riches, but the riches that come from God's blessings of a family. He has influenced our lives in more ways we can number and that is why our Dad will always be our 'Father of the Year.' "
The Winning Nomination
Father: Jason Christopher Lutes
Essay by: Wesley Lutes, age 15, Paige Lutes, age 12
Our Dad is Jason Christopher Lutes and he is always our Father of the Year, but our story is different from most. In 1998, our Dad proposed not only to our mom, but he proposed to us, too! He knew that he would be marrying all of us and he wanted to make us a complete family.
That day happened on July 22, 2000, when he stood before Judge Allgood and he made us a legal family. Our Dad chose to adopt us. He didn't have to, but he wanted to. He supports us and encourages us in everything we do. He spends time with us and always does everything in his power to help us be our best. He listens to our problems and doesn't solve them for us, but helps us figure out ways to solve them on our own.
One of the things we hear our Dad say over and over is that he is the "richest man he knows." He isn't talking about worldly riches, but the riches that come from God's blessings of a family. He has influenced our lives in more ways we can number and that is why our Dad will always be our "Father of the Year."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.