By Michelle Colesanti

Father’s Day may have recently passed, but in Brandon the appreciation continues with the Father of the Year Contest, which is presented annually by The Community Roundtable of Greater Brandon. The winning dad and child get to ride as honored guests in the annual Brandon Fourth of July Parade, which will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 4 beginning at Lumsden Rd. and Parsons Ave.

Students had to hand-write an essay in 50 words or less telling what special thing(s) made their dad their hero.

First place went to Hannah Rog, a fourth grader at Lithia Springs Elementary School, who wrote: “My dad is awesome. He works so hard. He is a hero. One day he saved a lady from dying in a parking lot. He saw her fall and immediately checked the heartbeat; there was no heartbeat or pulse. He started on CPR and the lady lived. It was amazing.”

Hanna and her dad, John, will get to ride together in the parade, along with receiving other prizes such as two tickets to Universal, which were donated by the Roundtable. A free round of golf for four donated by Buckhorn Springs Country Club and family portrait by Huth & Booth were just some of the great gifts donated and given to the winner.

Second place went to Natalia Khan, a fifth grade student at Symmes Elementary School. She wrote about her dad, Azard. “My dad is my hero because he helps me get through a lot of things. He parents me well by telling me right from wrong. Even though my dad has his problems, he makes time for me no matter what. He tries to be there as much as possible. He’s the best!” Some of the goodies received by the second place winner were two tickets to Weeki Wachee Springs donated by Accurate Tax & Bookkeeping Services, $25 to Buffalo Wild Wings, $25 gift card to Home Depot and more.

Third place winner, fifth grader  Jameson Johnson who attends Symmes Elementary School, received two games of bowling for four donated by Brandon Crossroads Bowl, gift certificates to Sweet Tomatoes, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and more. He said, “My father is my hero because he served our country in Iraq, sacrificing his mental and physical health for us; enduring the mind shedding pain of watching people die right in front of him. Nowadays, he helps people as a dentist every day. So I am sure he deserves this award.”

For more information on the Community Roundtable, visit

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Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.