Father’s Day Heroes

By Lindsey Rodrian

A hero is often defined by courageous acts and noble character—through perseverance, selflessness, and strength. Some fly, some scale buildings. Others can be found in the bleachers during cheerleading practice, after a long day at work.

Some drive iconic cars. Others hold on to the same old truck because they instead find value in providing their children with luxuries they weren’t able to obtain at a young age.
We asked our readers, what makes a stellar dad? And though the stories shared by each son, daughter or wife who proclaimed excellence are unique—their bottom line was interchangeable: He who puts his family first.


Bennett Howser

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Current City: Stockton

Occupation: Professor of Engineering / Engineering Technology

Claims to Fame:
Math homework, building things, and cooking

Maliss, 9 Sopheary, 12

What is your favorite memory with your dad?
There are so many, it’s hard to pick one. But my dad took me to a Sushi restaurant for the first time and it was really cool. – Sopheary

We went sailing on the Delta. I was a little scared but he’s a good sailor.

How does your dad support you?
He takes me to cheer practice three days a week and goes to all of my competitions. – Maliss

If your dad were a cartoon character, who would he be?
Superman! – Maliss

What makes your dad a good dad?
He always wants us to do our best. Not just in school, but in everything we do. – Maliss

When I was nervous for my gymnastic competitions he would tell me to not worry and to just have fun. – Sopheary

What do you love most about your dad?
He’s really helpful. Whenever I need help, he’s always there. – Sopheary


Joseph P. Ratto

Hometown: Stockton, CA

Current City: Stockton, CA

Occupation: Farmer

Kids: (first names, ages) Joanna Esteve, 47; Michael Ratto, 42

Interests/Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, and old cars

Dad’s “Claim to Fame”
My dad is best known for making people laugh by messing around with them in a joking manner. Everywhere I go in town, they say, “we just love your dad!”

What is one of your favorite memories?
We have lots of great memories, but our favorites are of him taking us fishing at Blues Lake by Lake Tahoe. We would get up at 4:00am, stop for hot chocolate along the way, and fish for hours while talking anything and everything.

What makes your dad an incredible father?
Our dad is an incredible father and person. He always has a positive outlook and is there for our kids and us. He never missed a game … is kind, patient, loving and supportive—Everything you want in a dad. He is by far the best dad all around!

How has he influenced who you are today?
Our dad’s work ethic was most influential to us. While growing up, we watched how hard he worked every day—up before dawn working alongside his employees until after dusk. He always told us to be passionate about your work and respect others … but most importantly, family comes first.

Benito Cano
Hometown: Actopan, Hidalgo, Mexico

Current City: Linden

Occupation: Auto Mechanic

Kids: Ivan, 13 Crystal, 26 Andres, 29 Jessica, 30 Benito, 29 Eva, 31 Sanni, 32 Abraham, 34 Mauricio, 35

Interests/Hobbies: Gardening, home improvements, and trucks

Dad’s “Claim to Fame”:
Good cook, hardworking, and an amazing supportive son to his mom who lives in Mexico.

If your Dad was a cartoon character, who would he be?
If my dad was a cartoon character, he would be Sponge Bob Square Pants because he is very hardworking and never likes to miss work, like Sponge Bob who doesn’t want to miss work even when he had the SUDS. I remember when my dad cut a piece of his finger nearly off at work. He put a bandage over it and continued to work. My mom made him go to the hospital to get it checked out, and he had to get stitches. That really showed me how hard working he is and it makes me want to be just as hardworking when I grow up. –Ivan

When I grow up, I hope I can ______________ like my dad.
be hard working and independent –Ivan

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from your dad?
He taught me how to work and how to be a man, so I can be the best person I could be, which has made me into a hardworking and responsible adult. –Andres

How does he show love and support to his family?
My dad has always made sure we had everything we needed and tried his hardest to give us everything we wanted. He has even given up his personal belongings at times to give his kids what they need. Once he sold his truck to buy me a new laptop because my brother had broken mine. My dad knew that I needed the laptop for school and he decided to give up something of his to make sure I had what I needed. He has always put his family’s needs ahead of his own and has always pushed us to be the best we can be. He always supported us in everything we wanted to do and has always help us to achieve our goals. –Jessica

Looking back on your childhood, what aspects of growing up with your dad did you enjoy most?
He was so involved in our lives, and growing up, I was the baby of the family and was a huge daddy’s girl. I loved the fact that I was so attached to my dad and how he loved spending time with me too. I remember a time when my dad was in our backyard working on his car and I was right there next to him pretending to work on my little Hot Wheels car. He loved having me there, and played along, like I was really fixing my toy car the way he fixed his own. I could have not asked for a better childhood than the one my dad gave us.

One thing you will never forget?
Every year on Christmas he would dress up as Santa Claus for us and just make our Christmas all that more special. I loved it! –Crystal

What would you like to tell your dad?
Daddy, I love you and I want to thank you for always being there. Even through our bad teenage years you never gave up on us because you loved and believed we could be the best we could be and I truly am grateful for having a father like you. You were my Hero growing up and you are to this day, and I know you always will be. –Crystal


Randy Burns
Hometown: Stockton, CA
Current City: Stockton, CA
Occupation: Firefighter
Kids: Keanna, 22 Serenity, 17 Evelyn, 5
Interests/Hobbies: Non Profit Work, golf, and camping

What do you like most about your dad? He gives me kisses and hugs. –Evelyn
One thing my dad has taught me is? To help other people. –Evelyn
What do you like to do together? Swimming –Evelyn
What is one of your favorite memories?
When I was 6 he took me trick-or-treating and then his roommates and I had a fake blood fight. –Serenity
How has he influenced who you are today? He has influenced me to work hard for the things I want and give 100% in all I do. –Serenity
How has your father made you a better person? He has taught me to show kindness and compassion to every person I meet and help those in need. –Serenity
Looking back on your childhood, what aspects of growing up with your dad did you enjoy most? He has always been involved in all the activities I have done. From soccer, golf, softball, and tennis—He has always been there to support me.
What makes your dad an incredible father? He took the time to find a school that supports my artistic abilities, and now I have the education to do what I love. (Theatrical Make Up Artist) –Keanna
What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from your dad? To always put family first and to lead by example. –Keanna
5 How has your Dad made you a better person? He has taught me that to achieve what you want in life you need to work hard, stay focused on your goal and to never give up. –Keanna

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