PHOTO CAPTION: The Roman family paints a picture that will go in the nursery of baby Christina, May 2, at Fort Stewart, Ga. Staff Sgt. Jorge Roman of 24th Ordnance Company, 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, is a finalist representing the Army in the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award sponsored by the National Fatherhood Initiative
May 16, 2013
By Sgt. Kiera Anderson
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Staff Sgt. Jorge Roman with 24th Ordnance Company, 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, has spent his life being a good example to his loved ones and his community. He's been a soldier for about 16 years, served several tours in Iraq and even served as a civilian police officer during a break in service. He takes care of his soldiers, his wife, and their three daughters, Issabelle, age 9, Alisa, age 8, and baby Christina, whom they welcomed into the world May 4. Still, this may be the first time his ability to set such a good example has received recognition on a national level.
Roman is now one of four finalists for the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award sponsored by the National Fatherhood Initiative, in which each nominee is the representative for their particular branch of military service. Ramon is representing the Army as an exemplary soldier and father, even garnering attention from HLN's Morning Express with Robin Meade, as they honor the finalists and encourage viewers to vote. None of this would have happened if his biggest fan, his wife, hadn't insisted that not only was Roman a very special father, but that others should know just how much.
On a whim his wife, Priscilla, filled out a questionnaire she got from Kessler Elementary school, which her oldest daughters attend. She knew he fit the criteria and wanted him to be appreciated for all he's done to keep their family strong, despite all of the commitments that could have easily pulled them apart. In fact, the main reason she wanted to submit his name is because he doesn't understand just how extraordinary his dedication to fatherhood is.
For Roman, he's simply passing on a legacy set in place by his own loving father.
"I personally don't think I do anything special," said Roman. "I cherish being with (my kids), especially being in the military. I've been deployed four times and I've come back every single one of them, but I haven't been sure every single time. I give my kids all the time I have while I'm with them."
It was his father that also taught him that the most important thing you can contribute to your children is time, and the ability to have fun by never getting 'too old' to do so.
"Sometimes we'll ride our bikes on nice days," said Issabelle, the Roman's oldest daughter. "We'll get wood for the fireplace, or ride our scooters."
In addition to encouraging his kids to get out of the house and stay active, Issabelle said he also teaches her how to get along with her sister and be a giving person (she passes water bottles out to the neighborhood kids with encouragement), and she feels lucky to have him as a father.
"I think he deserves to win," said Issabelle, "I'll be really happy for him even if he doesn't win, though."
Issabelle's younger sister Alisa is in agreement, and despite her shyness was able to articulate exactly why she thought her father should win.
"He's a caring person," said Alisa. "He's loving, and we laugh a lot.
While the family is excited about making it this far in the competition, the real excitement was surrounding the newest edition to the Roman family. This is the first time, due to deployments during the birth of his first two children, that Roman will actually get to hold and spend time with his newborn daughter.
Roman and his daughters spent a good deal of their quality time using their love of arts and crafts to decorate baby Christina's nursery, painting canvases adorned with exotic animals to match the pink and grey color scheme.
"This is what he does," said Priscilla with a chuckle. "Even when he was down range, he sent them a whole bunch of art work. We'd do artwork together and then send it to him, so it was like an artwork exchange."
While Priscilla said she still grew up with a loving mother and stepfather, her own biological father wasn't present the way Ramon is for their children, and the atmosphere of her home life was different from her husband's. She said his presence is helping them to grow into strong women and make her a stronger mother and partner that is just as much a part of their daughters' lives.
"As a parent you're a leader, and he's a leader at work and at home," said Priscilla. "He's shown me how to be an active parent. He's a great father."
Roman is taking leave so he can bond with his now expanded family, during which time they will learn whether or not Roman won the Fatherhood Award. Win or lose, Roman, his loving wife, and daughters have won the opportunity to appreciate and spend time with one another.