What Heroes Are Made Of

Five men show us what it really means to be a Dad

In honor of Father’s Day, we sat down with four families to get an intimate look at the heroism that lives within fatherhood. As we traveled from suburb to city to meet each family we got a “real” look at fatherhood in 2016.

Movie theaters, bookshelves and newspaper headlines are full of heroic tales — from masked vigilantes ridding cities of evil to everyday civilians standing up for what’s right. But for a child, often times their first hero can also be their most important. Their dad.

Dad heroes come in all shapes and sizes — some are handy, while others would have a hard time telling you the difference between a Phillips screwdriver and a hex key. A few wear suits or hard hats to work, and if you ask nicely maybe even a cape when they come home to play. While they all possess different fatherly qualities, they have one common thread: they care most about those they protect.

We traveled to living rooms across the country to meet some of these heroes. What we found was a contemporary picture of fatherhood today — a family-first mentality, unwavering care and a whole lot of love.

Mark and Kipp are proud fathers to their two adopted children, Beckett, 9 and Alexa, 1.

The Jarecke-Cheng family

For this family the ethos is simple. As Mark puts it, “Genetics doesn’t make us a family. Committing to each other and loving each other. That’s what our family is made of.”

Both fathers prioritize spending time as a family, and believe without a doubt that they “could not have made better kids.” From the moment we met this family the bond was both obvious and inspiring.

“My dads are my heroes because they’re kind, and help others no matter what.” — Beckett, 9

Dimitri and his wife are raising two independent, strong-willed daughters — Rileigh and Madison. For them it’s all about filling the house with laughter. Dimitri understands that each girl is her own unique individual, and has learned so much from them by nurturing those differences.

The Dumerlin family

As he puts it, “Kids change you, so if I didn’t have them I’d be a different person.”

“My dad’s my hero because he’s always nice to everyone.” — Rileigh, 8

Peter Devlin and his wife Jackie are raising three boys. Archie and Richie are just one year apart, at five and six years old. But their third son is just six months old, leaving an age gap between his brothers.

The Devlin family

“It’s like we went back to baby school now with our third child, and we have to figure out how to do everything again.”

It’s a handful, but they are definitely having fun. From playtime to bath time, Peter is highly involved with his kids. Jackie tells us that their family is always spending time together, because Peter wants to make sure his family knows just how much he cares.

“It’s different from the last generation where you might be less hands-on as a father.” — Peter

Dwayne lives every day for his children. At a young age, he made a choice to forgo a soccer scholarship and the possibility of becoming a sports hero, to become a Dad hero for his four sons.

The Decambre family

It’s a decision that he’d make again in a heartbeat. No question. Dwayne tells us, “When you care about someone you show that you love them. Everything I do for them — taking them to school, getting them ready in the morning, cooking with them. It’s all because I care.”

“My Dad’s a hero because he gives us hugs and kisses and lets us take baths instead of showers.” — Devin, 8

After meeting so many remarkable fathers, we found it impossible to create just one sole definition of a hero. Fatherhood has provided each man with a different mission, and it’s their care and commitment that elevates them above anything you’d ever find in a comic book.

Watch us celebrate the real heroes of 2016—men who care:

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