A Father’s Day Tribute to Fort Bend Dads

By Zeenat Kassam Mitha –

Father’s Day allows us to honor dads for all they do for their children, family and community. Fathers play many roles and wear many hats. There are those who work hard and sacrifice everything for their family. There are others who teach their children about the simple things in life, such as a love for nature. There are fathers who listen and give a helping hand, and there are also fathers who come late in children’s lives but make up for things they may have missed in the past. Through life’s many ups and downs, fathers have the ability to shield those they love while instilling confidence, perseverance and patience.

This month, we feature 10 Fort Bend fathers who speak of their passion for some of the charities they love. These fathers balance work, family and giving to organizations that value their efforts, time and philanthropic nature. There are countless others like them in our community, and we are blessed by all of them, as fathers make a difference in the lives of so many!

200-jim“My involvement with Child Advocates of Fort Bend was prompted by my wife, Tracey, who told me to investigate the organization for a possible volunteer opportunity. Never did I believe that the investigation would so grab me with the realization that here in our backyard, there are so many neglected and abused children. Now, after more than 10 years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) with three boys as court assignments, board membership, board presidency and Washington D.C. testimony, we still believe the Mission of Child Advocates of Fort Bend is so important. No one can, or should, know the children’s stories and not open their hearts and wallets.”

– Jim Shaw

150-ray“I got involved with Fort Bend Senior Meals on Wheels in 2000 when they were suggested by a good friend of mine, Karyn Dean. My career with seniors made it an easy choice, and it was natural for me to volunteer for something I loved. As a matter of fact, it is a privilege and an honor! Serving our seniors helps my sanity. I could be having a bad day, but after delivering a few meals, my day becomes joyful. It’s not what I’m doing for our seniors; it’s what they are doing for me – giving me a perspective of being blessed. We can deliver a meal and give them some of our time, but they have given us so much more.” 

– Ray Aguilar

150-craig“One of my greatest joys in life is being a father to my six beautiful children and a pastor, serving as a spiritual father as well. I believe in leading both my home and church family to serve. For this reason, I have led CrossingPoint to engage in meaningful partnerships that change lives. One such partnership is with Second Mile Mission. On the first Saturday of each month, CrossingPoint and Second Mile come together to distribute food to an average of 175 families. We are all here to not just gather resources but to become a resource to those in need. Second Mile is a Fort Bend County jewel, and it is our joy to partner with them each month in serving the communities that surround CrossingPoint Christian Church.”

– Craig Hayes

150-don“Reading has always played a great part in my education. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. It was a natural for me to understand and appreciate the need for a high literacy rate. From the proven socio-economic benefits to the necessary assimilation of other cultures into ours, reading comprehension is essential to a high quality of life in the world around us. Part of the mission of the Literacy Council is providing English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, bringing immigrants to our country the ability to understand the language. This is personal for me as well. My wife and her family are originally from Vietnam and came to this country with a very limited knowledge of English. ESL classes were vital to their success in America. My fondest memories are of teaching my children to read. It was one of the first activities that we could share, and it was always our special time together.”

– Don Kerstetter

150-ho“I’ve been volunteering all my life for various charitable organizations, but one of the most enjoyable charitable organizations that I’ve volunteered with is The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ (HLSR). With more than 100 HLSR committees and over 32,000 volunteers, HLSR is able to support the youth of Texas by raising money for scholarships, which was nearly $13 million dollars for 2015 alone. This organization helps students to reach their college goals through scholarship opportunities. On a personal note, as an elementary student in the early 80s, I was able to submit my artwork to HLSR and win a blue ribbon, which helped me express and develop my artistic abilities and gain confidence as a young student.” 

– HoJin Lim

150-farrukh“There are many charities I support, but a goal I have is to educate students, particularly in the accounting profession. My career in accounting has been very lucrative for me, and I stumbled upon the profession by accident. I spend most of my extra time volunteering with the Houston Certified Public Accountants (CPA) Society. I have served on the board in the past, and I am also a founding board member of Ascend Houston, a premier professional organization of Asian professionals. I donate to scholarships for accounting students to take CPA exams through Ascend and The Houston CPA society. I also recruit and mentor several students who are in the profession. I see immense value in education and mentoring.”

– Farrukh Seyar 

150-sunil“I am in the health care business, and when I worked at St. Luke’s, Texas Children’s Hospital and the Texas Heart Institute, I came across a lot of heart patients. My mom has high blood pressure and suffered a mild heart attack a few years ago. Knowing that a heart attack can be prevented through education, exercise and proper diet, I choose The American Heart Association (AHA) for supporting my passion and what it has been doing in these areas. I have served on the board of Fort Bend AHA for years, and we were able to raise a record amount of funds during my year as president, so research can continue to find more ways to combat this number one killer around the world. Knowing how to respond quickly during a heart attack can save a life.”

– Sunil “Sunny” Sharma

150-shannon“I am blessed to be the father of twin 15 year-old girls and a 13 year-old son, as well as living my life’s passion as a doctor and owner of medical emergency room businesses. I believe in giving back to the community and serve on many boards. Though I am involved with various charities, my charity of choice is Texana Center. As a physician, I see how critical it is to facilitate and serve mental health programs, especially in light of limited governmental funding. Texana Center is focused on creating and delivering life-changing services to people needing behavioral, intellectual and developmental care, support and education. Texana’s goal is to unlock their potential for safe, independent and productive lives within local communities.”

– Dr. Shannon Orsak

150-jimmc“It’s all about the kids, and that’s what makes me proud to be involved with Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CAFB). I have two grown children and a three-year-old granddaughter, and I am very passionate about sustaining a voice for every child in need that comes to CAFB. With the growth of Fort Bend County comes growth of the number of children we have to serve, and we have such wonderful community support. I believe that every child served by CAFB will have a much brighter future.”

– Jim McClellan

150-kevin“I am involved with The Exchange Club, because it is an organization that unites people of different faiths and cultural backgrounds. It promotes Americanism, community service, programs for youth and the prevention of child abuse. Santa’s Exchange is the project I enjoy the most, because we are able to provide gifts to children and families who would not be able to afford to buy them. In volunteering, I have discovered that giving back to my community is a need I have and one that I enjoy fulfilling every day. It has made me a better husband, father and grandfather.”

– Kevin Barker

To share your ideas for upcoming cultural stories and events, contact Cultural Correspondent Zeenat Kassam Mitha at zeenat@absolutelyfocusmedia.com