From the editor’s desk … 

Sometimes, things just work out better than we intended.

Jason Vance

The latest print edition of the North Gwinnett Voice is filled with stories on and photos of fathers — from the late Bishop Timothy Copeland, who raised four sons and served as a father figure to many in his church congregation, to four dads who share their experiences as parents and advice to others, to fathers who coach their children’s sports teams. While the features on each of the four dads were intentional and planned, the inclusion of other fathers happened to be newsworthy and notable — an interesting and happy coincidence leading up to Father’s Day on Sunday, June 18. 

Sammy Baker

For the stories on our four featured fathers — Drue Warner of Sugar Hill, MaShun Smith of Buford, Sammy Baker of Lawrenceville and Jason Vance also of Lawrenceville — we asked numerous questions about fatherhood: How has being a father personally impacted your life and shaped your perspective on the world? What do you believe are the key responsibilities of a father in raising children? How do you ensure you’re setting a positive example for your children to follow? What advice would you give to new fathers or soon-to-be fathers on embracing their role and responsibilities? These fathers shared thoughtful and moving responses, and they have much knowledge and wisdom to share — look for their profiles throughout this Father’s Day weekend. 

MaShun Smith

Smith has served as captain of All Pro Dad at his daughters’ elementary school since 2018. The group works to get fathers involved at their children’s schools. 

​​”There have been studies that show the impact a dad has by being present, not just at home, but also in his child’s school/education,” Smith says. “That child tends to have better attendance, increased test scores, and is more involved in school activities.” 

In his responses, Warner, who is involved in the Lanier High School chapter of All Pro Dad, shared the following: 

Drue Warner

“Several years ago, the television show ‘60 Minutes’ did a story on juvenile male elephants that had been wreaking havoc in African villages. There were no adult males in the elephant tribe because they had been poached off and killed for their ivory tusks. The solution was to find adult male elephants in other regions of Africa, hit them with tranquilizers, airlift, and drop them in among these juvenile males. The results were immediate and staggering. Within a matter of days, the juvenile male elephants had completely ceased their destructive behaviors on the African villages, and the reason was all because of the simple presence of the adult male elephants. If that’s true for elephants, how much more for us!” 

The staff of the North Gwinnett Voice would like to extend its gratitude to the incredible fathers in our lives and to the men who have taken on the role of being a father and honor the memories of fathers and father figures who have passed. From their comforting presences alone to the myriad ways they provide support, we celebrate, honor and remember them. 

Happy Father’s Day. 

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Deanna Allen has served as editor of the North Gwinnett Voice since June 2021. Effective communication and creative design are her passions.

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