We asked our Mount Pleasant Magazine friends and fans to nominate their favorite moms and dads. The results are more interesting and heartfelt than we ever thought possible. We had spouses nominate each other, children nominate parents and friends and colleagues nominate extraordinary parents. We hope you enjoy reading the winning essays as much as we did. Thanks for your nominations.
2016’s Favorite Moms As published in Mount Pleasant Magazine
Entries published as submitted
BETH ANN DERYCKE CHACONAS
Nominated by Paul Chaconas
Beth Ann puts others before herself. She has fun by helping others have fun! She models honesty and hard work through her loving actions more so than her loving words. She’s one hardworking lady who’s as “honest as the day is long.” Beth Ann is an excellent listener. She speaks the truth in love to all people. Beth Ann is quick to listen and slow to anger. She does not hold a grudge. Beth Ann is not one to overanalyze or dwell on the past. She simply does not have time to think too much. Beth Ann is a doer with a capital “D.” The DeRycke family she was born into and raised with in upstate New York are “doers” more so than talkers. Beth Ann detests gossip and excessive small talk, but she loves a healthy conversation. Beth Ann enjoys helping our children and other people in practical, tangible ways. She’s a peach!
Nominated by Phoebe Crouse
My mother has given her life to raise her children to the best of her abilities, and, in doing that, she cultivated four happy, self-actualized and grateful people. I owe all that I have to her – not only the blessing of security, but my ability to love extensively and my relationship with God, not to mention my passion for cooking. Now that I have delved into that hobby, I realize cooking and cleaning three meals a day is a full-time job, and doing it for four hungry kids is a career.
When my dad left our family, there was potential for my mother to fall apart and lose sight of who she is, but, because she always had a grip on her priorities and values, she remained a strong, inspiring woman. I love her and she deserves to be appreciated by everyone.
Nominated by Cheryl Figueroa
Stacey is the kind of mother that every woman wishes she could be. She and Hudson have daily explorations in Mount Pleasant and Isle of Palms. They visit parks, beaches and museums, where she incorporates her love of teaching through creative play.
Stacey was an elementary art teacher prior to becoming a full-time mother. Her love of art is evident each and every day. They may build sand castles and draw pictures on the beaches in the morning and explore parks and wildlife in the afternoons. They love to read books and visit the library for various children’s pro-grams. I am proud of the wonderful woman and mother she is.
Nominated by Rachel Jones
When I think of a great mother, I automatically think about my mom. She raised me by herself for 13 years before she met and married my stepdad. In those 13 years, she did everything in her power to make sure I had the best things in life and did everything I wanted to do, whether it was trips with my friends or just shop-ping for new things. She always put off doing things for herself to make sure I was completely happy!
My mom is the backbone of our entire family. Right now she takes care of my grandmother full-time, because my grandmother can’t take care of herself anymore, and my mom takes of care of my son while I work so I won’t have to pay for daycare. Basically, she takes care of everyone in our family and she never asks for anything in return. That is true love! Words can’t describe how much I truly appreciate her. I know for a fact that I have the best mother in the entire world. I love you, Momma.
Our mother is one God loving woman. She will give your the shirt off her back in a winter storm. She never missed a sporting event during our years and years of playing seasonal sports. We call her gazell because during soccer she would run down the sidelines just cheering us on! Our aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple years ago.. Mom took off work almost every day just to take our aunt to the doctor, or just be by her side when she needed it. She is there every second when you need her. She has the energy and love that shines right into people giving them the warm loving feeling. Our mom (and wife of our dad) deserves the world! We are blessed that she is our mother!
MELISSA PALUBIAK LOY
Melissa is an amazing Mom. She takes care of a beautiful 3 year old, who is very busy and headstrong. ( traits that I love). and Melissa is also pregnant with her 2nd child. She is also a realtor. That job alone keeps her hopping…but she works it out and gets her child to dance class, gymnastics, beach. I see the love she shares with her daughter in their morning snuggles as her daughter wakes up to a new day. Now Melissa has a new one on the way. She struggles with ALL DaY sickness. There is no morning has passed and now I can go about my day. It is all day. She makes sure her house is kept reasonably straight, and keeps her realtor buisness going strong. Still she makes sure Lily has everything she needs especially love. I would choose her as the super Mom she is
Erinn was born to be a mom! She’s so dedicated to being the best mom she be on a daily basis. She’s constantly learning and striving to better her self for her family. Hands down the most honest woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. She truly shines in her role as mom, never taking it for granted and enjoying (almost :)) every minute of it. I strive to be a better father based on the example I see in her every single day. I can say with absolute certainty that my children have the best mom on earth
TERESA OLIVER SIMMONS
Teresa is a terrific mom who works full time at East Cooper Medical Center as their Marketing Co-ordinator. She and her husband Chris, who works at Hank’s Seafood Restaurant, share parenting duties with them both being full involved with raising Ava (4) and Oliver (1). Chris watches children until Ava goes to day care at 11:30 at Childrens Discovery Center and Oliver is baby sat by his grandmother in the afternoon when Chris goes to work at Hanks. Teresa takes over parenting duties at 5:00. She and Chris get the kids out of the house on weekends for family time when they go to the SC Acquarium (where Teresa worked previously), the Childrens Museum, beach, playgrounds, parties, and participate in all of the great activities available in Charleston and Mount Pleasant. She recently took Ava to see Peppa Pig at one of the local theaters.
Courtney M. Martin
I love my mother because she showed me how to be a great mother! Her compassionate unconditional love and patience go without saying. I love you Mom and thank you for all you still do! You will always be a mother. You never stop or give up on your lifelong commitment when you are a mommy! I still want my mommy when I get sick; she held my hand during labor! I love you, Mom.
Lisa T. Beluzo
I love my mother because she gave me unconditional love, taught me the importance of independence and cooperation and modeled values that were never self-serving. Without her support, I would not be the woman I am today. She embodied strength, perseverance and dedication. I lost her and there is not a day that dawns that I don’t miss her.
To see my mother bear six children and lose five, yet she still has so much faith in life. It’s amazing. She is not only strong physically but faithfully as well. No matter my faults, she will love me. She has taught me what forgiveness means and sincerity and that life is not about money but love.
I love my mother simply because she taught me and my five siblings good morals. Without her, we wouldn’t be as selfless and conscious of the world around us.
2015’s Favorite Moms As published in Mount Pleasant Magazine
Entries published as submitted
MICHELLE KEEF TERRY
Nominated by Elizabeth Murray
Michelle lives for her daughter. Working two jobs and being the most dedicated karate mom (taking her daughter to and from practices, raising money for competitions and still finding time for herself ) isn’t easy when she’s on her own. But my friend makes it work and makes it look good! Michelle is absolutely selfless when it comes to her daughter, and I often look up to her when it comes to how I handle my own children. She’s always patient, always encouraging and never complains. She really is the best mom this side of Charleston.
Nominated by Joe Semsar
When many across the Lowcounty hear the name Mrs. Semsar, they often think teacher. After nearly four decades in the classroom, most know my mom as a Sullivan’s Island Elementary School 4th grade teacher, or 2nd grade teacher or after-school tutor.
I regularly run into people locally that ask if my mom is still teaching and then proceed to tell me about their wonderful experience in her classroom. These conversations occur all over town and fill me with joy, but are not at all surprising.
My mom is, simply put, angelic. She is selfless. She is patient. She is caring. She is loving. She is kind. She consistently models what it means to treat others with dignity and respect. And boy can she cook!
Her students love her because she cares deeply about fostering a safe, fun environment where they receive individualized attention and enjoy coming to school. Her four sisters love her because she listens to them in a nonjudgmental way and makes a concerted effort to be there for them even if she lives over 500 miles away. Her friends love her because she lives in the moment and cherishes the small things. Her four children love her because she cares deeply about their well-being.
And I love her because I am perfect in her eyes. I do not have to do anything to gain her approval. She loves me for who I am and wants nothing more than my happiness. I know that I’m lucky to have such a wonderful mom, and Charleston, too, is lucky to have an outstanding educator who adores all of her students as if they were her own children.
Nominated by Debbie Perkins
Most people love their moms and have fond memories of their childhood. My mom was a typical mom in many aspects. What separated my mother from the pack was an extreme devotion and loyalty to those she loved, and she loved my daughters and me. My ex-husband left my daughters and me back in 2001 with very little but memories. My mom stepped up to the plate and did everything in her power to ensure that our lives did not lack in fun, love and support. She was always there for every significant moment in our lives. She was there every time we dialed her number if we needed to hear her voice. She was there when life left us disappointed or disillusioned.
But life had other plans for our best friend.
My mother became very ill a few years ago. My last memories of her before her illness took over was Christmas of 2013. We spent that holiday in a beach house, surrounded with love and memories. She held me like a child and showered us all with her unconditional love. It is a memory I will cherish for the remainder of my life. Being enveloped in her loving arms, I was reduced to a child for a brief moment. For this special moment in time, I was safe, secure, loved and protected. It was a magical Christmas.
Then in February of 2014, we found out my mom had a terminal disease. The wind was knocked out of all of us, and we were left with no idea of how to proceed. On
April 10, we gathered beside this woman in her hospice bed in what had once been a guest room. We lay beside her in the bed, and we sang and read to her. We kissed her and held her as she had once held us. We made promises to her, promises that I pray we can keep. Then at 6:40 that evening, our anchor left this Earth for an eternal home. We all held her as her heart took its last beat. It was a precious moment – to hold this woman as she took her last breath, knowing that only she was there when I took my first.
I was so lucky to know this beautiful lady. I was blessed to have her in my life. Her legacy lives on in my life and my daughters. She left before Mother’s Day last year. So here’s to you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day from your three girls. We love you to heaven and back.
Nominated by Meg Leisey
Fran is truly a unique and an amazing mom. Being a neonatal doctor at MUSC, you would think that she would have no extra time, but she would prove you wrong. To name a few ways she is a fantastic mother, when she is not saving lives of tiny babies at work, she spends her time taking guitar lessons – what mom does that? – working out in the wee hours of the morning while everyone’s heads are still on their pillows, hand-making all of her children’s costumes instead of buying the overpriced ones, making crafts with her creative, hilarious daughter, passionately – OK, competitively – attending her son’s club soccer games, attending Christ Our King-Stella Maris mass every weekend and making time for date night with her husband. This mother truly does it all! She sets an amazing example for her children to be well-rounded people as they mature and develop. No matter where I go in life, I will always think of how grateful I was to watch such an amazing mom in action and hope to exemplify her one day as a mother.
Nominated by Camryn Teder
My mother is, as my brother would say, a very unique individual. My mommy is a major shopaholic. Most of it is not on purpose though. She has three “men” in the house that eat everything in about two seconds. My brother Logan once ate an entire box or pop tarts in one day. Not only that but she also has one little lady in the household whom she spoils greatly with the amount of clothes she buys and leaves for me to try on. Her purse is a receipt disaster. My mother is also very strong in her faith. Mrs. Meghan was raised by an army chaplain and another beautiful mother. We go to church every Sunday on time (sometimes) not to mention we have at least 10 bibles in the house. Prayer is mandatory every morning, night, and meal. My mother is also very diligent in her work as a stay-at-home mom. She can’t stand messy rooms and cleans whenever she can, she cooks meals, shops, comes to all of our band, chorus, writing, etc. events, she urges us to study and get outside and everything. She is also looking for a part time government job so if you know of one let her know. My mom is very caring. She knows us like we are part of her. And we are. When it comes to school bullies, loss of creativity, loss of motivation, boo boos, nightmares, lies, the wrongs that we’ve done, she’ll know and she will get her answers and set the people who have messed with her babies straight. She says she loves us all the time. And you wonder what you would do without someone so caring, kind, beautiful, amazing, memorable and every good thing in between. And a life without your mother is a part of you gone. And I’m happy to say my mom is still burning bright. She’s still smiling and saying I love you and waking us up for school and being a mom. A mom is the hardest job ever to exist. And I’m glad to have a mom so responsible and kind hearted and patient. Thanks mommy :))))))))
Nominated by Julia Reed
Noelle Jennings is an ER doctor at Roper Saint Francis, her job is very demanding. She and her husband work together, keeping their house in order and raising their two beautiful children Luke and Leila. This requires alot of oragnization, planning and a few deep breathes between. They work in together helping each otherout in sweet little ways to keep it all running smoothly. And that I believe it is the secret to her success. For Noelle, family time is paramount, she doesnt get as much as other Mothers do, but it is cherished and enjoyed. Its not always quantity as much as the quality time she has with her children. She make every moment count. Noelle is wonderful loving Mother and if anyone deserves reconition, its her.
Nominated by Mary Lou Valenta
michelle is a very selfless person. She gives so much to her family and is a great mother, wife and daughter. She always makes me feel welcome and needed. She is a gracious host and loving person, taking time to listen and praise. She is so good with the children and they are well adjusted to their lives.
Nominated by Stuart Perlman
Leslie is stay at home mom turned entrepreneur to 5 of her 6 kids. She had our twins in 2013 (they are almost three) and a year after they were born started her own business (Moments of Magic Travel- specializes in Disney Destination vacations).
In addition to being a mom and running a company that now has over 40 employees she is an avid kiteboarder, runner and paddleboarer. Her work takes us to Disney quite often and just two weeks ago she completed both a 1ok AND a 1/2 marathon in Disney with NO training! (It was called the Glass Slipper Challenge)
Overall people often say that they don’t know how she does it- and in all honesty, neither do I. She has more energy and determination than anyone I know and her life story is one that often brings people to tears. She would be an amazing person to consider for your article!
2016’s Favorite Dads As published in Mount Pleasant Magazine
Entries published as submitted
Nominated by Lisa Willmuth
his son’s speech therapist
I know Derrick through his son, Matthew. I have worked with Matthew for over five years as his speech therapist. I’ve had the pleasure to also get to know the Vann Family. Derrick has a beautiful wife, Saritta, an 11-year-old daughter, Sophia, and a 12-year-old son, Matthew. Matthew has autism and has come a long way from when I first met him. Derrick is usually the person that brings Matthew to his therapies. No matter how many hours he has worked during the day, he still finds time to make sure Matthew makes it to his therapies. In addition, he makes it a point to ask the thera-pists questions about Matthew’s day. Although Matthew may have limited verbal skills, his facial expressions and body language speak volumes when he looks at Derrick. When you see the entire family together, it’s as if a series of individual puzzle pieces becomes complete. His positive attitude and demeanor are contagious.
I find Derrick to be an inspiration. I can’t remember a day that I didn’t see him with a smile on his face. No matter what life throws at him, he always leads by example. Most recently, he had to make the difficult choice to move out of the country for a job. I am certain this frustrated and upset him, but he never showed signs of distress. He always seemed focused on the task and goal ahead – to help support his family. Whether it is helping his son when he has a breakdown or squeezing in time to have a tea party with his daughter, he always meets the mark and makes time.
I know in my heart and mind Matthew’s growth is because of the examples set for him. I honestly believe Matthew is such a happy, lovable boy because his father is a great example of unconditional love.
Nominated by Linda Oliver
Chris raises Ava, 4, and Oliver, 1, while still working full-time at Hank’s Seafood in Charleston. He takes care of all the needs of the kids until 11:30 every day, when he takes Ava to daycare at Children’s Discovery Center and leaves for his job after his mother comes to the house at 2 to babysit Oliver. He is a great hands-on dad who has always changed diapers, cleaned the breast pump for Teresa and cooked – anything a mother has done in the past, he does without being asked. He sees what needs to be done and just simply does it. He is the best young father I have ever seen. He and Teresa (marketing coordinator at East Cooper Medical Center) get the kids out on weekends for family time at the beach, playgrounds, Aquarium, Children’s Museum and parties. He recently took Ava to see Peppa Pig at one of the theaters.
Nominated by Donna Strouse
Matthew is raising his two children on his own. His wife left him and the children and moved back to Iowa. He bathes them, makes sure they brush their teeth, does the laundry, gets out school clothes and gets them to school, all while holding down a full-time job. He spends time taking them to the park, reading or just playing a game. He takes them to the doctor and makes sure the kids are fed. He does this all gladly and never complains. The children are his number one priority.
Nominated by Samantha Wilkins
Barry is a dedicated husband and loving father to 4-year-old triplet daughters. He works full-time but always has time for his family. Since the day the girls were born, he rolled up his sleeves and jumped right in. He changed diapers, got up in the middle of the night for feedings and comes home from work “ready to go.” He has adapted to life in a house full of females and has embraced the chaos.
In March of 2013, Barry happily donated one of his kidneys to his daughter, and they just celebrated three years of health! He rarely complains and knows how to get us all out of a funk if needed. He is hilarious and finds the funny side of many stressful situations. He is a very dedicated father (and husband) and never feels that it “isn’t his job.” Barry is an amazing man. His family loves him and is very proud of him! We think he’s the best!
My husband has always been a man with a servants heart and has treated me like a queen since we started dating 8 years ago and continues to do so well into our marriage. I always knew he was going to be an amazing dad but he truly has blown me away with how absolutely captivated he is with our daughter. To say he adores her is an understatement! My husband had never been around babies much, never changed a diaper or anything before we had our little one buy from day 1 he has swooped in and taking the initiative to learn to do it all! He doesn’t depend on me to tell him what to do, or ask him to do something when it comes to her, he just does it and he does everything without a single complaint.
My husband gets Wednesdays off so he keeps our daughter and he will tell everyone thag Wednesdays are his favorite day of the week and he truly looks forward to them so much. Most working dads would want to do anything buy watch the kids on their day off but not my husband, he looks forward to daddy/daughter day each week!
I have never met a dad to emotional when it comes to watching their daughter grow month to month, or express how much he loves her all the time, to never consider me the primary caregiver but to always work hard to be my partner in raising our daughter. He truly has the best heart and has always been an incredible husband and is now an amazing dad!
My husband, Jon, works hard and sometimes (okay, most times), I don’t give him credit. Though, he doesn’t work hard for the credit, it’s just who he is, it’s in his DNA. In fact, he never stops working. He compromises his own health and safety to put other’s first. Jon puts forth more effort and energy into everything in his path; from relationships and “IT stuff” to talking me off a ledge to spending quality time with our miracle twins.
Though I lost my father too soon, I am the lucky one as I see Jon’s tender parenting mirror my own dad’s—and they never met. That tender way is a quality unmatched by many. He is patient and nurturing in a way that makes our family feel safe in even the scariest of situations.
He tells me, “Circuses are in tents,” when I tell him, “Things are intense.” His humor has a way of lightening a situation, but not making light of a situation. That light has a way of shining during the darkest days or the daily stresses of two teething 19 month olds, a dog with cataracts, a demanding wife, work challenges and more–this man never buckles under pressure. I have yet to see him crack. He manages to be our family’s calm, our strength and he never loses faith.
And the greatest of all, is seeing the love of a father through my children’s eyes.
Starting over at the age of 52 years old is one amazing DADDY. Having Three boys- 21yrs old, 3yrs old and 18months old, you would have thought he lost his mind, but he is absolutely so loving, positive and has so much energy puts me to shame. He definitely deserves to recognized as the BEST DADDY in Mount Pleasant
Sarah Key, wife
Chris was amazing before he was a father and even more amazing now that he has three children in his life. When Chris became a father to our six year old, Sydney, he wanted to show her how supportive, caring and loving a Dad should be. He is succeeding. When our twin boys, Jackson and Seth, were born three years later he wanted to show them how to be brave and sensitive at the same time and how to build things. Build things like furniture, entire bathrooms and positive sibling relationships. He is succeeding. Chris is a Chief in the US Coast Guard, he volunteers with the youth at our church, Point Hope United Methodist, and he is an active member of our community. He cares about what is happening around him and wants to be a part of it. He still finds time to fully support my small business in Mt. Pleasant (you will sometimes see him behind the cash register), change the oil in our cars and to take our kids to A LOT of birthday parties. Chris is a fun Dad. He is a smart, hardworking protector. He is a lucky Dad and our kids are lucky too.
2015’s Favorite Dads As published in Mount Pleasant Magazine
Entries published as submitted
Nominated by Karen Perlmutter
When Aaron and I started dating almost 13 years ago, he struck me as different than any other man I’d dated. He was the opposite of showy. Rather, he was unassuming but had a steady quality to him, like the backbone you would want for a family. We now have two sons, Isaiah, age 4, and Caleb, age 22 months. Aaron effortlessly finds the balance between providing structure for our boys and bringing them to fits of giggles. He is a swing-pushing, lunch-packing, bath-giving, hands-on dad. After a long work day, he will often scoop the kids up for an adventure to play soccer at the park, to pull the wagon around the neighborhood or get the kids engaged in some sort of dance party or rowdy jump-on-daddy fiasco. He is not afraid to kiss and hug his sons daily or to say “I love you and I’m so proud of you.” He asks our older son about school and actually listens attentively to what happened on the playground that day.
Aaron is also a soccer player and a triathlete. He has not lost his own identity in his parenting, which I believe to be an important quality of parenthood. In this, he has modeled balance for our kids: hard work, hard play, big love. We parents can tell our kids all sorts of things about how we’d like them to grow up. But Aaron, probably without even knowing it, actually models for our sons just what it means to be a good man and a good person. They’ll realize one day that is what he is. Right now, they just think he’s kind of a superhero.
Nominated by Katie Chowdhury
Our favorite dad stated he would one day have four daughters before he was even married 12 years ago. Amazingly enough, he was right!
Our favorite dad spends his days taking care of sick children – he’s a pediatric cardiologist at MUSC – before coming home to his four daughters: 7, 4, 2 and 3 months. He is always positive and excited to see his family, no matter how long or difficult his day was at the hospital.
Our favorite dad always puts his wife and daughters first. He sacrifices his “wants” in order to provide his girls with all their needs.
Our favorite dad spends his evenings and weekends playing with his four princesses. He’s known for wrestling, playing outside, being kicked out of the treehouse because he’s a boy and occasionally having his “spiky” hair put in barrettes. He may even be a “Brony” because he spends a lot of time playing My Little Pony with his daughters. He’s the best!
Our favorite dad loves his family to the moon and back. No words can describe the love we have shared since we were just 15 years old. His heart has grown even more with the birth of our four children.
Our favorite dad is beyond patient! He lives with five females and never ever complains. He jokingly said, “I’ll be moving out once a month in the future.” Of course, he was kidding – I hope!
Our favorite dad is compassionate as a physician, husband and father. He treats all patients like his own children. He saves lives and always puts his children and wife first. What more could one ask for? We love our favorite Daddy!
Nominated by Beth Boroughs Wright
Our father, Marty Boroughs is the most wonderful father around. His father died when he was 3 years old, and he was raised by his mother along with his two older sisters.
Although he was loved dearly, was raised by a wonderful mother and had some great male influences in the family, we know he always missed having his father.
Maybe that is what made him so great – being able to give his children things that he was never able to have, to raise us to be happy and safe. He is hilarious and has stories that everyone wants to hear – although the story may not be exactly the same every time. Haha! All of our cousins and friends love him almost as much as we do.
In addition to four girls and one boy, there are also two grandchildren and one on the way at the end of March. The grandchildren are his joy now; he spends most of his time with them. There are also three sons-in-law that he loves as his own.
Dad has lots of friends and acquaintances in the community and gives of himself to lots of the older friends that may need a visit or to be taken to a function or out of the house. Sometimes I wonder if he will ever know how much we love him, how much we appreciate every time he listened when we needed him, moved us across country back home or just sat and laughed hysterically.
We have been so fortunate to have and experience what the real meaning of family is and are grateful to have the opportunity given to us by this generous, loving man.
Nominated by Ayden Rupp, Connor Simonson and Parker Beeson
all on Wando High School lacrosse team
My dad is the absolute best. He really deserves an award for being such a great dad to all 40 of my brothers. He is very understanding and kind in every situation. Plus he’s got a sweet goatee (Ayden).
I’m nominating Coach Rupp because he is a great leader and a great coach. He always pushes me to do my best (Parker). Coach Rupp is the best dad in Mount Pleasant because he loves his kids and he loves his players. He treats us like his family (Connor).
Nominated by Logan Teder and Camryn Teder
son & daughter
Although other dads may seem like legitimate choices, I can assure that my dad is the prime selection. He could be considered the definition of the five words given above (Caring, Comedic, Loving, Helping, Understanding). I see no reason why he should not be at least CONSIDERED for selection. (Logan)
My dad is an amazing father. He is hard-working. He is the only person in our family that works. My dad is a government contractor and he is devoted to his work and family. Even when he gets home, he manages to juggle three kids, work, and my mom. He is very kind to anybody he meets. My dad is very easy to get along with. He knows how to crack a joke at the right time. He is very patient. Even when it comes to my 18-year-old brother. When he, or any of us, are disrespectful or rude, he’ll wait. My dad knows that if you jump into an argument with any of us immediately, we will just get more and more resentful towards our parents. When he looks at us and tells us to apologize and whatnot, you know that your dad is lovely enough to be patient and kind to us like a real man and father. My dad is strong. In life, there are many ups and downs for everybody. My dad braves the storm. He has stayed bright and loving through all of his conflicts. With a dad in the army, a stillborn, a dysfunctional teenage boy and so many others that I probably shouldn’t mention. He has been strong for us. My dad is extraordinary. It’s not very often you find a dad such as mine. If I were to live a thousand more lives. I could change a whole lot of things but I would never change my dad. My dad is perfect to me. And right now, I am sitting here staring at my keyboard listening to my dad laughing at The Big Bang Theory in the other room, and I can tell you that their is no way I can fit how amazing my dad is into 350 words. So I’ll stop with this. I don’t expect you to pick my dad for this Mount Pleasant dad award. But it wouldn’t make it any less true that my dad is the best dad in Mount Pleasant. Thanks (Camryn)
Nominated by Ashley Lugo
I think my dad is perfect to be nominated for this! He is the most hard working person i know yet he will always be there for you if you need him. He manages to run the house AND run a business. My dad knows basically everyone in Charleston because no matter where I go with him, he is always introducing me to new people. He has sacrificed and is continuing to sacrifice things for him so my brother and I can have the things we want. He’s the type of person who would take his shirt off his back for someone who needs it. He’s taken my brother and I on adventures we’ll never forget. My dad is perfect for this because not only is he the best dad anyone could ever ask for, but he’s also a good friend and wonderful person. I couldn’t ask for a better dad than the one I have. David Lugo should be Mount Pleasant’S Favorite Dad!
Nominated by Mary Lou Valenta
My son is a much admired friend of many. He makes friends wherever he goes and has much to offer in friendship. A self taught musician, he plays in a band besides working at his engineering job. Finding family time can be difficult but is always planning fun things for the family to do. He participates in the children’s activities as much as possible and spends times enjoying the fine activities offered Mount Pleasant ( originally from New York). Loving, caring and most of all, a role model. He has overcome many obstacles in his life and I feel that he has definitely risen above and learned from his experiences. He is just a down-to-earth lovable, funny and great guy!
Nominated by Emily Curry
My husband is an amazing dad. He has always been supportive and a 50/50 partner in raising our children. In the past year, I started my own optometric practice and became pregnant with our third baby. He has taken on more duties at home and with the children. He does it graciously and without resentment. He cooks, cleans, does laundry, changes diapers, teaches the five year old to read, and even attempts to do my daughter’s hair. Without his support I would not have been able to open Sweetgrass Eyecare and pursue my professional dreams. And when life gets a bit overwhelming, his calm happy demeanor helps keep us and our family grounded.
2014’s Favorite Moms As published in Mount Pleasant Magazine
Entries published as submitted
Nominated by Jamie West
Crystal is a single mom with two very polite and well-behaved children, an infant and a toddler, who she raises solely on her own. Despite her busy work schedule and very little family in the area to rely on, she still manages to go above and beyond helping people of her community.
Crystal has befriended strangers who are staying at the Ronald McDonald House by taking them for “mommy make-overs” and a night on the town. She volunteers at Crisis Ministries in the wee hours of the morning (even when nine months pregnant) to serve the homeless a warm meal.
Crystal is the person her friends can count on to always be there, the mom that her children’s teachers love and cherish, and the neighbor everyone wants to have. She is beyond a “super mom.”
Nominated by Melanie Theriault
mother of son’s classmate
Brandy Richardson is a mother who has always put children first. Prior to starting their own family, Brandy and her husband, Todd, were foster parents in their home state of Georgia. Their own family has since grown to a family of four children – Eli, Ethen, Emi Sue and Evan. Brandy has been very involved in the children’s classes at school, volunteering regularly, often with a baby on her hip.
In July of 2013, Brandy’s 8-year-old son, Ethen, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Their journey can be found on Facebook at Ethen Richardson Updates. Since that time, her devotion to her family has reached a new level. Brandy has remained by Ethen’s side throughout his battle, championing him each step of the way and never giving up hope for his recovery. The family traveled to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, where Ethen received treatment. In January, Ethen and his family appeared on Fox News’ New Years Eve nationwide broadcast as Ethen was granted his dream of seeing New York City by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Later that month, Ethen was hospitalized, and it looked as if his battle was all but lost. During Ethen’s hospitalization, Brandy never left his side for more than a few minutes at a time. To the amazement of many, Ethen was released from MUSC in February and returned home to be lovingly be cared for by Brandy. Although Ethen has lost his ability to speak, Brandy has devised a method of communicating with him using a letter chart and eye blinks. I am also told that she has a way of anticipating what he needs and what he is thinking without him uttering a sound. It is that inexplicable bond between mother and child that allows her to communicate with Ethen in a language that transcends the spoken word.
It is Brandy’s unwavering devotion to her children that compelled me to nominate her for this honor. I know she doesn’t think of herself as such, but I want her to know that there are so many of us who know she is extraordinary. Brandy inspires so many of us to appreciate each day we are given with our children and to remember that each day with them is a gift, for there are no guarantees as to what tomorrow will bring.
Nominated by Callie Leatherberry
My name is Callie, and Kim is my beautiful, incredible mom. She deserves to be nominated and recognized more than anything.
I know everyone probably says this, but she seriously is the most unselfish, compassionate person you could ever hope to meet. She has taken care of everyone her entire life, and puts EVERYONE before herself. She was raised in a family where her mom had (and still has) mental health disorders, so she took care of her family often, growing up, when her mom was not able to. She became a registered nurse, partially because of that and for her love of helping people. She and I both experienced some health issues last year, and she put her health problems aside to take care of me first and to make sure I was going to be fine. These are just a few of many examples of her compassion for others and of her selfless demeanor.
My mom has always showed my brother and I complete acceptance and unconditional love in the most powerful way. She has also set a wonderful example for my brother and I with her marriage to my daddy; 33 beautiful years later, my parents are still married and still so in love.
She has taught my brother and I so many important values, such as not to be judgmental and to accept everyone and that being kind to everyone is so important. She taught us manners, self-respect and the importance of always helping others. She is a hard worker for herself and for her family, and she gives back to her community. She is an animal lover and a people person. She is always calm, happy and smiling. She is one of the most well-rounded, responsible, perfect examples of how a human being should be and how we should all treat each other. If the world had more “Kims,” the world would be a much better place.
She is one of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. … and I get to call her Mom. How lucky am I?
Nominated by Brenda & Nelson Martin
mother & father
Mother says: Melissa is so kind hearted. Always thinking of others. She volunteers @ Jennie Moore Elem. School. She serves at Seacoast Church. She prepares food for people who are sick or just had a baby. She belongs to MOPS & helps with fund raisers for worthy causes. She is a loving mother and wife She is the go to person when someone needs anything done. I’m am so blessed to have such a wonderful caring person as my daughter
Father says: From the day her brother was born, (she being 2 1/2) we could see how caring & kind Missy was going to be. She’s been a wonderful teacher to her students. She is always there to help, be it @ her children’s school or daycare, church, or a friend in need. She’s so thoughtful and concerned for the well being of others. She’s a wonderful mother, wife & friend. And I am proud to call her my daughter.
I feel she is so deserving of this title.
Nominated by Isabella Kocsis
I nominated my mom heather briggs because she deserves to have something amazing happen to her other than her boyfriend jayson snurr she has been out of work because she got in a car accident and has to have time for her back to heal so she can get back in to work because we have been on a money budget, she also is very sweet and and deserves to be nominated.
JAMIE STENGEL WEST
Nominated by Jacquie Fase
Jamie has always set high goals. She attained her masters degree in Middle Eastern History/ Arabic languages in Cairo Egypt during some scary times in our modern history. She is an amazingly creative middle school teacher who has the ability to instill a love of learning in her students through interactive studies and group learning. She met the love of her life in Charleston and together they have Logan and a baby girl due in May. There isn’t anything that Jamie cannot do including sewing clothes and draperies. She sings like an angel and is truly a gift from Heaven to all who know her.
Nominated by Cat Fox
When you first meet Michele, rather you know her or not, she greets you with the warmest hug! I haven’t known her all the long but what I do know is that she is sweet, kind, and giving! Michele has the biggest heart and is so willing to help those in need! I always feel better when I see her because she keeps a positive upbeat persona about her all the time. She loves her cute little family so dearly that it’s evident when she is around them. I thank her for the positive attitude that she gives to this world!
Nominated by Katie Franyo
My mom is one of the best moms ever. She is always taking me to my music lessons and constantly driving all over the place to take me to gigs. One time, she stayed at Cinnebarre for almost four hours just to hear us sing. Everyday she works hard on my bands website, Facebook, and email. She truly is an amazing mom.
Nominated by Cat Fox
I am a self sufficient owner of two business…and 24. When people ask me how I reached my goals and own a successful hair and makeup company and restaurant at 24 I simply tell them “my mom”. My mom is the strongest woman I know and extremely intelligent and influential. She has consistently pushed me to excel throughout my life and I would not be where I am today without her.
My parents were divorced when I was young and my mom took it upon herself to guarantee I never felt the repercussions of being a child of a single parent. I never once felt as if I had to do without- but what I did see is my mom’s passion for life and constant drive to do better. She always wanted better for me, and for herself. Through the years she has instilled that same willpower and motivation into me. She has inspired me to keep pushing and once you reach your dreams create another and reach that one.
Over the past twenty years my mom’s career has flourished. She recently opened her own business consulting practice, Price Business Solutions, where her primary goal is to help others start up new companies or help struggling companies thrive. Her true drive to do better comes from helping those around her and that is what makes her so special. She has grown from helping small, local companies to now taking on giant corporations and it is all from word of mouth. People truly see and appreciate the talent and compassion inside of her.
My mom has touched and helped so many people in the town of Mt. Pleasant. She has encouraged, motivated, and instilled personal belief not only in me but in our community. When I was contemplating opening my own company, she was right there giving me business advice, inspiring me, and making my dreams come to life. Her dedication to helping this town grow along with her genuine willingness to help everyone around her make her mine and Mt. Pleasant’s favorite mom!
Nominated by Kathy Knight
From the time I can remember to present day my Mom had been the most giving and understanding person the a daughter could have. Yes, she was incredibly good to me but that is not where it ended. When she was a high school teacher, I watched her not only teach her students but engage with them by volunteering for Drama Club, the Annual, Cheerleading, Talent Shows, Exchange Program, teaching at The Governor’s School of the Arts and much, much more. She would stay with these kids years beyond high school to make certain they reached their goals and conquered their dreams. Today, she receives random calls of thanks and she smiles knowing that she was the one teacher that took it beyond the classroom and care just that much more.
2014’s Favorite Dads As published in Mount Pleasant Magazine
Entries published as submitted
Nominated by Lillian Ciany
Mark’s dry sense of humor and sarcasm are a source of laughter in the company of his friends. Around his daughter, however, he transforms into a gentle, caring, loving and sensitive father.
Lennon, Mark’s 3-year-old daughter, was an extremely stubborn infant. Unlike most babies, she refused to take a bottle from day one. This made it difficult for our family, as I worked nights and Mark worked days. Every night I came home, Mark was pacing the hallways with a screaming and hungry Lennon, with a look of sheer exhaustion on his face. Despite the fact that Lennon consistently refused to drink milk out of a bottle, Mark spent every night soothing and singing until I returned home to nurse her.
Since our early days as a family, Mark and Lennon have developed a unique and tight bond. They write their own music spontaneously together; Mark plays chords on guitar while Lennon sings nonsensical but adorable lyrics into the microphone. They also have dance parties to hipster music, while Mark teaches Lennon all about his favorite bands – Oasis, Blur and other historic Brit-Pop rock stars.
Mark often asks me to make my own plans on Friday nights after work so that he can have our daughter Lennon all to himself. He has grown into such a natural father, with a love for Lennon that makes everyone around him melt. Even if he doesn’t win this “Best Dad” contest, he will always be the best daddy to Lennon, giving her continuous guidance, confidence and love.
WILLIAM “Bill” ZOBEL
Nominated by Kaitlin Zobel
My dad was unfortunately robbed of the blessing of having a father himself at the young age of 12, when his Navy-enlisted father died of cancer. I always say that my dad has gone above and beyond his paternal duties. I will be the first to admit that I was not the easiest daughter to raise.
My wonderful dad has been through the ringer to give not only me but my entire family the absolute best life he could possibly provide for us. I can honestly say that my dad is the most selfless person I know. He is up at 7 a.m. on weekend mornings doing overtime so we can enjoy all of the luxuries we are blessed to have because of his hard work. I believe there is a difference between being spoiled and blessed. I am blessed. My father loves me so much that he would do absolutely anything to see me happy, even
if that means sacrificing his own happiness. And after all, isn’t that the most important characteristic an award-winning dad can have? My dad would literally give up his own happiness and well-being to ensure the happiness and well-being of his family. If he isn’t worthy of Mount Pleasant’s best dad, then I simply don’t know who is. The second you hear him talk, I assure you that your heart will melt. He is everything that a father should be, and he deserves this recognition.
I only hope that you can see him as I do, as a great man and a great dad.
Nominated by Mindy Allen
Chad Vail is an amazing father of three children – Caroline, 11, Claire, 10, and Bryson, 7. Chad and his wife, April, have also been very active in the special needs community as they have raised their three children. Caroline is in the sixth grade at Coastal Christian Prep. Chad enjoys supporting Caroline in her cheerleading and on the volleyball court. Caroline is a gifted student and Chad enjoys studying with her for her tests. Bryson is the Vails’ gregarious son in the first grade at Coastal Christian Prep. He is also a terrific athlete and gifted in school. Claire is their middle child and happens to have Down syndrome. She is in the fourth grade at Daniel Island School. Claire is thriving in her classes and loves to read and sing in the school chorus.
When Claire was born, the Vails were blessed to find the local Down syndrome parent support group called DSAL. Chad says he was so thankful for their support that he and April became active members and have both served in the organization’s leadership. The Vails were among the families that started the Buddy Walk for DS on DI. Chad served as president of DSAL. One of the ways DSAL uses the funds from the Buddy Walk each year is to hold Buddy Camp, a week-long opportunity for youth with DS and their buddies.
Chad worked with the MUSC Department of Speech and Language Pathology with the early camps. Thankfully, the DI Rotary Club and many others stepped up to support the amazing and inclusive camp experience. Chad was also part of the MUSC DS Clinic.
“We’re thankful to have these medical specialties available all around us. DSAL’s goal is to provide an equal level of care and support to everyone with DS. We want to be there for the families as well as the patients,” he commented.
Chad was elected president of the DI Rotary Club for 2014/2015 and will officially take office July 1.
Nominated by Carolina Allen
My dad is the BEST dad in the County but definately in Mount Pleasant!! My dad coached my soccer team in Mount Pleasant for three years and is also a FIFA Grade 7 local referee for children and adults. He is always volunteering his time and expertise in Mount Pleasant! He is so smart!! He has a Naturalist Biology degree and is a SC Master Naturalist. He has passion for our coastal region and uses knowledge to assist sellers and buyers as a Land Specialist Realtor for Cannon Real Estate Group! He also is a Certified International Specialist!!
Nominated by Holly Fisher
In February, my husband put on a suit and a tie, posed for a couple photos on the front porch and then escorted our 6-year-old daughter to a Daddy/Daughter Dance. Organized for local Girl Scouts, it was a princess-themed evening, complete with tiaras, a visit from Cinderella and even dancing.
When they drove away for the evening out, a few tears filled my eyes. A child of divorce and without much of a relationship with my own father, I was beyond grateful to have a husband who was not only present but engaged. Clint is an active participant in our daughter’s life – attending school functions, volunteering at Girl Scouts and putting her hair in pigtails. He’s there to teach Kate the things a dad can – everything from how to brush the dirt off and keep going after a fall to how a man should treat a woman.
As a CrossFit coach and runner, Clint instills in our daughter the benefits of physical activity and healthy living. He does the same with the children he’s coached in an after-school fitness program at CrossFit Mt. Pleasant. They adore Coach Clint as he joins in the activities, demonstrating that fitness is fun.
It’s easy to step up when life is smooth. But when it’s tough, that’s when people show their true colors. After our daughter was born, I suffered many months of postpartum depression. Even though neither of us knew exactly what I was experiencing was PPD or what to do about, Clint remained by my side. He stepped in to take care of our baby when I couldn’t. When I was laid off and my depression deepened, he urged me to get help. When we faced financial struggles after my job loss, Clint took a government contract assignment to Africa for 11 months to help our family.
In a time when too many men shirk their responsibilities and abandon their families, I’m eternally grateful to have a man in my life who is willing to make sacrifices, be supportive and love me and our daughter unconditionally.