He’s Father of the Year in Merced. His daughter’s essay will melt your cold heart

A Merced dad was named the 2019 Merced County Father of the Year at an awards banquet by the Merced County Office of Education.

Patrick McGowan won the honor after his daughter, Stella McGowan, a first grader at St. Paul Lutheran School in Merced, wrote a 300-word essay about what her father means to her, according to a news release.

Courtesy Merced County Office of Education

McGowan was joined by 20 other fathers and father figures who were honored at the banquet held at Atwater Valley Community School.

“My dad’s name is Patrick but I call him ‘Daddy’,” the essay starts out. “My dad has a beard and he has a bald head.”

Stella wrote that her dad loves to play basketball, but hates when people step in his rocks. He is good at building things but not good at picking out her clothes.

She wrote about cherishing a father-daughter dance, and how her father made her a cowgirl hat.

“He is special to me because he loves me,” Stella wrote.

Anyone from kindergarten through 12th grade was able to participate in the essay contest that highlights the special role fathers and father figures play in their children’s lives, according to the release. Students could write about a father, stepfather, grandfather or father-like figure in their life.

Merced County volunteers read the essays and chose the top three entries from each grade level, the release states. Those fathers, who had the option of writing a response, were interviewed by past recipients of the award and community leaders to determine the new father of the year.