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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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A pledge for fathers
Dozens vow to be good husbands, dads
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Men take the positive fatherhood pledge Saturday as part of the Community Fun Day in uptown Martinsville. Bassett High School Principal Garrett Dillard (third from right in photo at left) was among those pledging to be a good father and role model. (Contributed photo)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Pedro DeJesus of Martinsville cradled his 2-day-old daughter, Lilly Rose, as he made a positive fatherhood pledge Saturday afternoon outside the Martinsville Municipal Building.

Around 40 men and boys took the oath administered by city Commonwealth’s Attorney Joan Ziglar.

After taking the oath, DeJesus and the others waited in line to sign the resolution that included the pledge and for Ziglar to sign as a witness.

The pledge “means the world to me,” to do his best to be a good father and role model, DeJesus said as he waited.

Next to him in line was Willie Robinson, pastor of Soul Winners Ministries in Martinsville, whose children are adults. He said he was recommitting himself to his wife and children and to be a positive example for other men and boys in the community.

The resolution begins with, “I do solemnly resolve before everyone here today to take full responsibility for myself, my wife and my children.” It then has 12 “I will ...” statements, including:

• “I will love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them to be a productive member of society as the leader of my home.”

• “I will be faithful to my wife....”

• “I will work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.”

• “I will be a be a better husband, father, mentor, son, grandfather, community and spiritual leader.”

Ziglar said in an interview this area has a high percentage of single-parent homes and she knows firsthand how difficult that can be for families.

Ziglar’s mother, Polly Ziglar Amos, who died at age 57, worked three jobs when Joan was growing up in Ridgeway, she said. Her mother was a production worker at American Furniture, did housekeeping and child care for other people, and took care of a working tobacco farm, Ziglar said.

“My relationship with my father was very distant,” she said. Other male family members and her pastor were important male figures in her moral development, as was her mother, she added.

Before Ziglar read the oath, Michael Harrison, lead pastor of The Community Fellowship Church in Collinsville, read scriptures and gave a speech of motivation and challenge. Among other things, he encouraged attendees to love, nurture and support their families, and be mentors and role models for children who have absent fathers.

American Legion Homer Dillard Post 78 presented the colors at the oath ceremony.

The oath ceremony was the key event of Community Fun Day uptown Saturday, according to Chad Martin, event organizer and also vice president of the Give Back Foundation. Martin said a volunteer recently cried when he told him, “I’ve never known what it’s like to have a father.”

Activities at Community Fun Day included informational booths by a number of groups and agencies (it included voter registration), inflatable games, music, a mobile STEM lab (science, technology, engineering and math), air-brush tattoos, motivational speakers and a job fair.

Representatives of Shine Systems & Technologies, Organo Gold, Ameristaff, Taxing Authority Consulting Services and The Work Connection had representatives at the job fair at New College Institute, officials said. Nine-year-old Audrey Bredamus of Martinsville said she enjoyed doing several sets of pull-ups on a bar at the event. “I did them two-handed and one-handed,” she said.

“I don’t know how to do pull-ups,” said her little sister, Emma, 8, who said she enjoyed bouncing on the inflatable games.

So did Audrey. “She enjoyed racing me on the (inflatable) obstacle course,” her mom, said Tonya Bredamus.

Tonya and her parents, Randy and Debbie Beaumier of Martinsville, all praised the free family activities at Community Fun Day.

Garrett Dillard, principal of Bassett High School, and his wife, LaTonda, and children — son Caleb and daughters Ciara and Cadance — also took part in the activities.

Caleb and Ciara said they enjoyed, among other things, power-generation demonstrations in the STEM lab.

“I think it’s a great event,” Garrett Dillard said. He and his wife said they wished more people had attended.

Martin estimated about 300 people came out.

Several other community events took place Saturday.

“Those who turned out (at Community Fun Day) enjoyed the music, food and fellowship,” said Wayne Knox, the city’s director of community development. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asked all housing authorities to hold an event to highlight the need for fathers to play a greater part in their families’ lives.

Community Fun Day was part of a series of fatherhood events held locally Friday and Saturday. The events also included the third annual Fatherhood Summit at Moral Hill Missionary Baptist Church and showing of the movie “Courageous” at Rives Theatre.

Sponsors included Martinsville Redevelopment and Housing, Give Back Foundation, For the Children, FOCUS, Fayette Area Historical Initiative, Rives Theatre, D-Truth, Domino’s Pizza, Walmart, God’s Pit Crew and Nelson Automotive, according to a flier and Martin.


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