Local dads talk sacrifice, fatherhood, community

Published 5:07 pm Saturday, June 17, 2023

Father’s Day is a holiday designated to honor and show appreciation to fathers and father figures alike. The third Sunday in June is the day to pause and give reverence to respective dads everywhere. 

Father’s Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide. The first ever Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. This year, local fathers reflect on the responsibility, sacrifices, and the joys of fatherhood.

Lowndes County District Judge Adrian Johnson, has been serving the citizens of Lowndes County since 2011. He is married to wife Mandy, and has one daughter, Harper, age 10. 

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Johnson said that his foremost goal is to raise Harper in a Christian household, so that she learns by example. 

“Faith is very important to our family,” he shared. “I want Harper to be confident, and someone who thinks for herself. We try to accomplish these goals as a family, by attending church and encouraging Harper to excel in her favorite activities, such as cheerleading and dance.” 

Johnson said he loves spending time with his daughter, teaching her about hunting and the outdoors. 

“I am especially overjoyed when I get to participate in the father daughter portions at her dance recitals,” he said. “Just spending time together is an investment in any child’s future.” 

Johnson said his dad Jerry Johnson was a great example for him growing up. He was an active Boy Scout, and his father served as Scoutmaster. 

“The saddest part of my job is seeing children involved in the juvenile court system, not having active fathers in their lives,” Johnson said. “Often those children grow up without believing in their self worth, because no one has shown them that they have value. A child that grows up and doesn’t value their own life, becomes an adult who doesn’t value anyone else’s life either. Whether dependency or delinquency context, we are continuously working to show children that they have value.” 

Johnson added he has been fortunate enough to take several children on their first deer or turkey hunting adventures, and expose them to something new. 

Greenville City Councilman for District 5, Boris Thigpen, is the father of three boys, Roc, 20, Javiin, 16, and King 13. Thigpen has been employed with Hyundai Manufacturing of Montgomery for 11 years and has been married to  his wife Rhonda for 13 years. 

“The best part of being a dad is the maturation process,” Thigpen said.. “It’s been a joy watching them grow from little boys into young men. Being a dad allows me to be a role model for my children and allows me to teach them valuable, lifelong lessons.”. 

According to Thigpen, he encourages his children to be themselves, but recognizes the importance of discipline and structure. 

“Discipline builds character,” Thigpen said. “It is important for me to provide the resources they need to be successful in whatever they choose to do, but more importantly, I teach them to be good, respectful people. I tell them, ‘It is nice to be nice.’” 

Not only does Thigpen pour life skills into his own children, but he mentors children through a travel basketball team that he co-founded with Jerome Davison, Jr. 

“I connect with kids via basketball,” Thigpen said. “Sports are a way to not only develop one’s athletic skills, but also self- esteem.” 

The respect and admiration shown to him by his own kids and his team, is what keeps him motivated to stay active in their lives,” he added..

Christopher Hilburn is the owner of Double H Farms and co-owner of  Luverne Hardware in Crenshaw county. He and his wife Caitlin have two children, Natalee, 10, John Allen 7, and one bundle of joy on the way. Christopher said he loves watching his children learn and grow. 

“I enjoy seeing them figure out who they are as individuals and what they want to be in life,” he said. 

Hilburn said he loves spending time with his children on the farm.

”There are so many opportunities for them to see and experience new things,” Hilburn said. “Whether we are in the chicken houses, in the pasture with the cows and horses, or running equipment, there’s always an opportunity for me to teach them something, and for them to learn a new skill. I love seeing them be proud of themselves.” 

Hilburn added, “Our family dynamic is rooted in Christ, so church is a priority. Discipline is important, and so is grace. I want my kids to know they can talk to me about anything. I want them to know that it’s okay to make mistakes, because I make mistakes. What’s important is pushing through, and striving to be better the next day. I want my children to know the importance of my hard work, and it’s all for them. Hilburn said this Father’s day will consist of work as usual, but the family will attend church, eat some barbecue, enjoy the pool, and spend time with family.