Meet the Ormond Beach winner of this year's Rad Dad contest.
Ormond Beach resident John Ross spends a lot of time with his five-year-old son, Jake.
Their family has a saying: "We're always making memories."
Whether it is driving to Disney World for the first time and watching Jake's eyes light up as he gazes at the fireworks, or simply going down to the beach and playing in the sand together, Ross and his wife treasure those moments. They take many photos and have mugs with their special memories around the house.
“You don’t just have a kid, and that’s it, move on," Ross said. "You have a child and that becomes a big part of your life. I want Jake to have so many memories of our time together and that he knows that if there’s anything he needs — if he’s feeling pressured or he’s feeling down, if he’s happy and excited — he can share it all with me.”
Ross was nominated for the Ormond Beach Observer's Rad Dad contest by his son Jake and wife, Beth. She said Ross is an amazing stay-at-home father who strives to teach their son kindness every day. She said their favorite song is Tim McGraw's "Humble and Kind" because that's what they are.
"They both make me so proud to be a wife and mother to two beautiful people on the inside and out," she wrote in an e-mail to the Ormond Beach Observer.
Ross used to coach collegiate and club volleyball before becoming a stay-at-home dad. His job forced him to be gone most nights and weekends, and after Jake, who has Achondroplasia, was born, he didn't want to miss out on precious time.
The other night, he was able to see the fruit of that precious time. For the first time, Jake read P. D. Eastman's "Go, Dog. Go!" without missing any words.
“I was like, ‘oh my gosh,'" said Ross, laughing. "You’re growing up too fast. Stop.”
Ross didn't have a father who was around growing up, and he said he told himself if he ever had a child, he wanted to be someone he or she could look up to, count on and help guide through life. He said fatherhood is not just about the title.
“You have to be there," Ross said. "You have to put time in.”