Nine-year-old Evans resident McKenzie DeLancey says her dad is "the coolest."
Her father, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tim DeLancey, has served his country in Iraq, works with McKenzie and her little brother Manney in the yard and always makes time to be a part of his children's activities, McKenzie said.
DeLancey, who works nights as an electronics technology instructor at Fort Gordon and is a painter and cartoonist in his spare time, has been named the 2007 Columbia County Father of the Year, an annual contest sponsored by The Columbia County News-Times, Queensborough National Bank and Trust Co., and Cudos.
"I think my Dad is cooler than any other dad, because he is in the Army and is an artist!" McKenzie wrote in an essay nominating her father for this year's contest.
McKenzie wrote that her father is someone she can turn to.
"He is there when I and my brothers Manney and Nathan need him," she wrote.
"The main reason I feel my dad should be Dad of the Year is because he makes me proud that he chose to be in the Army to protect our family and the country," McKenzie wrote in her nomination essay. McKenzie also credited her father for protecting her and her two siblings from Tropical Storm Barry during a recent camping trip.
The honor was a surprise to DeLancey, who didn't know about his nomination for the contest until told Wednesday that he is the winner.
"I think she's sneaky," he said of the nomination.
He said he is very proud of his daughter, a rising fifth-grader and an A-student at Lewiston Elementary School.
"I think she's a great girl and I'm so proud of her with her gymnastics and school (work)," he said.
DeLancey's wife, Melanie, said her husband is a great dad because he doesn't let work keep him from being involved in his children's lives.
"He goes to work all the time and when he's not at work, he's doing something with the kids, whether it's gymnastics with McKenzie or soccer with Manney," she said.
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