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Lt. Gov. Rhoden: In Honor of All Fathers

June 17, 2022
Family is important. President Ronald Reagan once said, “if the family goes, so goes our civilization.”   
  
While our society has changed greatly since President Reagan spoke these words, kids still need a father in their lives. There is more than one path to fatherhood. There’s one I would like to highlight this Father’s Day weekend: Foster Fathers.  
  
Last year, Governor Noem created a new initiative called Stronger Families Together and set a goal of enrolling 300 new foster families every year for five years. The Stronger Families initiative was successful in reaching its goal in our first year, and I am proud to be a part of it.  
  
I want to thank all the families who have stepped up to provide this support for children and families in crisis. As the Bible says, “Iron sharpens iron.” Foster families do this by providing additional support and encouragement to the parents of the children they are fostering. They provide a safe, loving home for kids to live in while their birth parents work through their struggles. Sometimes, foster families become that forever home for the kids they help.  
  
Whether you’re a dad, a stepdad, a foster dad, an adopted dad, or even just a father figure in a child’s life, you are providing something that our children cannot buy. You are a protector, a mentor, a disciplinarian, a source of comfort, and whenever called upon, a friendly ear to listen. Their tiny feet find their way through the world by following your footsteps.   
  
My wife Sandy and I have worked hard as parents, raising our kids to be strong and successful. They are taking those lessons now and applying them to their own families. Just this week, Sandy and I were blessed with our sixth grandchild – a baby girl. There’s nothing more amazing than the day you get promoted to grandpa.    
  
My father was my hero when I was growing up. If on the day I die, my children have half as much respect and admiration for me as I did for my father, I will consider life a success. For those new fathers who may be short on experience, here are a few quotes from inspiring Americans on what it means to be a father:  
  
“My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you want to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.’” — Michael Jordan  
  
“The greatest tribute a boy can give to his father is to say, ‘When I group up, I want to be just like my dad.’” — Billy Graham  
  
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. May God bless you and your families. 

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