Nicole Callison, 18, considers her father a rock in her life.
"He's always there," Nicole said of her father, Grady "Bubba" Callison. "He's always somebody I can run to."
Callison, of Martinez, is service manager at Fleetcare Commercial Trucks, father of three and grandfather of two. He was named the 2008 Columbia County Father of the Year, an annual contest sponsored by The Columbia County News-Times , Queensborough National Bank and Trust Co. and Cudos.
"My dad is truly my sweetheart and my hero," Nicole wrote in an essay nominating her father for this year's contest.
Nicole said her father makes sure his children, including herself and older sister, Jessica Black, 25, knows he loves them and showed much strength and faith as the family leader when her 18-year-old brother, Justin, died in a 2004 car wreck.
"I just knew my dad would lose his mind as any parent would, but he put his trust in the Lord to help us get through this," Nicole wrote in her nomination essay.
"Through this time of bereavement, my dad truly showed me that we do have so many things to be thankful for."
Callison said his family saw him as the strong one, but he simply tried to help his family deal with the loss together and to realize they still had many blessings.
"Kids, all of them, are gifts to us," Callison said. "We teach them right from wrong, show them that we love them and take care of them. ... You are not promised tomorrow."
He said parenting is a team effort that includes his wife, Nancy. They have lived in Columbia County since 1989.
Being one of eight siblings, Callison said he tries to follow a parenting philosophy his hard-working father used.
"He was always there for guidance," Callison said. "Even as adults, anytime we needed him, he'd be there for guidance, but wouldn't interfere."
Nicole, a recent Lakeside High School graduate headed to Augusta State University to study nursing, said her father has been very active in her life -- joking, playing and supporting her clogging activities.
Callison's family said he is very handy and will not hesitate to be the first person to offer assistance to someone in need.
"He's always been that way," Nancy Callison said. "We can go down the road and if there's a woman on the side of the road with a flat tire, he'll stop and change her tire."
Nicole said she understands the special bond a little girl has, and will always have, with her father.
"I love him more than life itself," she wrote in the essay. "I am very, very proud to say that Grady "Bubba" Callison is my dad."
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