When fathers spend time doing things with their children, they can develop a lasting bond that offers both parent and child a lifetime of emotional attachment that produces respect, appreciation …
When fathers spend time doing things with their children, they can develop a lasting bond that offers both parent and child a lifetime of emotional attachment that produces respect, appreciation and love.
That his how Jamie Lewis and his son, Brody, describe their special relationship — one filled with respect, love and appreciation before, during and after Father’s Day.
“It’s very important for me to spend time with my son,” Lewis said. “I love him to death. I’ve been involved with quite a few things he’s done over the years — like when he decided he wanted to play football, so I started coaching football. Brody have been playing football for eight years now. He started out at age 4. I coached him for years.”
Having worked for the Benton Police Department, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Bradley County 911 Center, Erlanger Life Force and the American Red Cross as the disaster program manager, Lewis has been a busy man, but never too busy for his son.
“Sometimes we play video games together and talk about them,” Lewis said. “I like a lot of the old school games. He likes the newer ones. He just went to a computer programming camp at Lee University where he got the award for the best use of ‘code’ for making video games! We attend church together at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland. We like to ride fun rides together, like at Six Flags over Georgia. We even mow the lawn together.”
“I mow the safe spots,” Brody interjected. “We get to bond this way. I learn things from him and he learn things from me.”
Lewis, 44, has been with the West Polk County Fire and Rescue since 1992. Brody, 12, attends Chilhowee Middle School, but spends time with his father at the fire and rescue station, being trained for the Boy Scouts Explorer Program, which provides students with an opportunity to learn about a variety of career fields and network with professionals already working in those fields.
“He’s actually been a few times with me, just to sit in the car and observe, but I wouldn’t let him go on anything bad,” Lewis said. “They have to be 14 years old to be in the Explorer Program. Brody is in the Beta Club, so he has to do community service hours. We were talking about that and he asked if there was anyway he could help through the fire department — through emergency services. I volunteer for emergency management and I thought, ‘He can help me with things like planning and drills.’ He has a strong interest in the weather, and weather preparedness and response goes along with emergency management. That’s one of the things I do — watch the weather. We have a weather station here and we monitor the radar.
I talked to (West Polk County Fire and Rescue) Chief Steve Lofty, who is also (Polk County) Emergency Management Agency director, and he said, “We can bring him in under emergency management and let him volunteer. That way he can help out. Once he turns 14, though, I’m sure he’s going to want to be a full fire explorer and start participating in some of the training for firefighters.”
The Explorer Program is designed to help youths pursue their special interests, grow and develop hands-on experience to determine whether or not a particular career field is right for them. There are posts associated with fire, rescue and police departments and even a television station.
“Brody is quite intelligent,” Lewis said. “He took the test and got the storm spotters certification. He’s an honor role student and has been an honor role student every year. My hope is that he becomes an ER doctor. I just want the best for him. Being involved in the fire department is going to build character and leadership skills that he’s going to need later in life.”
What Lewis is also providing for his son is an example of what real fathers actually mean to children who need both parents in the lives.
“In my opinion, fathers are probably the most important thing to a child growing up,” Lewis said. “I didn’t appreciate it until I got older. I learned so much from my dad — how to act and so many other different things. Father’s Day is a very touching thing — especially after you’ve had children of your own. You really come to grips with this!
“I loved Dad. I spent a lot of time with him. Sometimes I got upset with him, but I’d realize he was always doing things for the right reason. He was trying to lead me in the right way and sometimes that’s a hard lesson. But whenever I became a father and I began to reflect — I think about it even more, and I think about my kids, and how much they both mean to me. Just them being there is a reward every day.”
“My dad is always there for me,” Brody said. “I think dads are there to teach you how to get through life, and how to help you through it.”
“He’s a fine young man,” Lewis said. “He surprises me every day. It’s amazing to me how fast he’s growing. He’s 12 and he’s already about as tall as I am!”
Regardless of their height, it’s likely that Brody will always be looking up to his father for taking the time to be there for him. The sentimental father shared several warm expressions about Brody and his daughter, Lauren, who was not present at the time.
When asked what they will do for Father’s Day, Lewis looked over at his son, smiled and said, “We’ll go to church on Father’s Day, have a nice lunch and dinner. I’ll probably cook. He likes to help me cook, so we’ll do that together. He’s my world and my name sake. I’m very proud of him. All I want for Father’s Day is my children’s happiness.”
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