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Samantha Duran's Essay
Posted by : TEAMDAD on June 17, 2014 - 4:31pm

Branch:         Marine Father-of-the-Year

Name:           Carlos Duran, Gunnery Sergeant

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Samantha Duran's Essay (6th Grade – Kaden Middle School, Okinawa, Japan) - 

Unlike any of the fathers in the world there is only on that’s right for me.  I know sometimes he tries to act tough, but he is a BIG terry bear on the inside.  He is a loving and caring man.  No one in the world can take his place.  I am grateful for having him everyday and seeing him face to face.  Although sometimes he may not express his mood, I know he’s telling me in the inside.    We may have our ups and downs, but he is my dad and I know either way he loves me very much. 

We share the same hobbies unlike no one else.  We both love to do outdoor activities.  I love doing outdoor activities with him because it makes us bond together and love each other more.

My father makes many sacrifices in being in the military to support our family.  He puts food in our bodies and covers us with warm soft clothes.  My father was wounded 2 times in combat and he is a Purple Heart Veteran.  My father will be deploying soon  and I will miss his goofy jokes and seeing him face to face everyday.  Without my dad it would be like a galaxy never found in outer space. 

It has been a tough time of year for my father.  Recently he has just lost a brother he didn’t know existed to a brain aneurism.  He has been tough around me and my brother about my uncle’s death.  To this day he still cannot forget what happened.  I look up to my dad because of all the scarifies he’s made.

After waking up at 4am each morning and working for 16 hours he may be stressed coming off work, but as soon as he sees me and my brother his face lights up like a Christmas tree. 

If my father was a car and someone offered me all the money in the world to take the car I would say no, because fathers are like the most valuable things in life and only come once in a lifetime.  I don’t need items or money to make me happy.  I just want my father next to me.  That’s what really counts.  There is no other person who knows me well.  That’s why he is the dad that is meant for me.


Carlos Duran’s (Samantha's dad) Response To The Essay - 

My daughter and I are more alike than most parent/child relationships.  We may come across as tough, but deep down inside what makes us different from everyone else is our deep concern for the welfare of others.  My children and I will take the clothes off our backs to give to those who are cold or in need.  A prime example is for Christmas, Samantha, Charlie, my wife and I spent the day with single Marines and Sailors and bonded with them.  We also made food for them to make them feel at home and cared for.  Samantha has a giving heart as it runs in our family from the beginning of time.  I am not a perfect person or father but my children know that everything I do or sacrifice my body and mind for is for them.  What I would change is to show my children more affection with words.  I love Samantha and I wouldn’t change her for anything in the world.


MOST SIGNIFICANT FATHERING EXPERIENCE – Hugging, kissing, telling my children I love them every day and vice versa is the most significant fathering experience.  Knowing that my children understand the sacrifice that is made so   that they and I can live in a Country of Freedom, just the fact that they understand that selfless act is significant to me as a father.      

BEST FATHERING ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED -  The best advice I received was from my pastor.  As a parent introduce your children to Christ so that they may grow and learn from his teachings and stay humble, grounded and always willing to give back.


I have found that most of our bonding together has been through the introduction of sports.  The competitiveness you see in their eyes is shared through our family.  Sports build camaraderie not only with their teammates but also with us as parents.  I absolutely enjoy coaching my kids as they learn and take on new sports.  My children also love camping and the outdoors.  Reading and doing homework with them is very important for them and us as parents. 

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A DAD – My greatest challenge as a father has been my occupation.  My job as a Marine makes my duties as a parent difficult due to constant deployments.  Having to explain to my children why daddy has to go to a Combat zone for months and years at a time can be difficult.  Although both of my children came to this world at a time of war they know and understand Dad’s purpose and all those whose serve.  They are my inspiration and what drive me every day to be a better father, husband, son and Marine.

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About author: TEAMDAD
Each year for the past two years, TEAMDAD has partnered with University of Phoenix to conduct the TEAMDAD Military Fatherhood Essay Contest. More than 500 students participated and this essay was one of the category winners.
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