Best memories of dad
SEBRING - Michelle Rogers-Nickerson remembers her father working from sun-up to sun-down. That was the best memory she had of him, Jimmy Rogers, that he always worked hard and their mom always took care of them. When Rogers-Nickerson was 8, her mother died. Her dad had no idea how to deal with girls or even what to do “but he tried and always made me feel like I was the most important and gave me the best life,” she remembered. He always called or texted her first thing in the morning, just to tell her he loved her and make sure he was OK.The hands of time don’t stop and people slowly become cherished memories. Jimmy Rogers died in January 2011. “I miss him dearly; he had the best heart and wish my kids would have had more time with him,” she said. Today is Father’s Day, marked by barbecues, movies or beer with dad. Sometimes your dad may be your step-day and thousands of miles away but that does not minimize your connection like it is with Shelby “Spenser” Hart, a petty officer 2nd class, attached to an Army unit, now deployed in the Middle East. “My stepdad, Ken Blount, treats me like his own blood,” said Hart. “He spoiled me and my friends. I grew up with us going to arena football games for 10 years. If it wasn't for my stepdad, I don't know where I'd be today.” Blount has been in Hart’s life since he was 2 or 3 years old. He lived with him for around 15 years before he moved to Georgia but despite the distance has been the one person in his life he has been able to count on. “Never once has he asked for anything in return except that I do something with my life and so far I have.” At least four times a week Blount sends his step-son emails of how proud he is. “I am deployed to the Middle East and he goes out of his way to make sure I have everything I need,” Hart said. “Even though he is not my blood, he is still a father to me.” Hilda Hernandez Kee misses the heart-long talks she had with her father. “He was awesome!,” she said. Connie Arndt’s dad ran his own business and wasn't home a lot but they always spent Sundays as a family. “We took long rides to no where in particular. Just got in the car and drove. We always found something different. Just spending time with him was special,” she said. Jeanne Simpson said she has only happy memories of her father who died about three months after she turned 13. Idalmy Rios, whose dad died of cancer at age 55, remembers sitting on his lap for hours at a time while he explained life’s challenges. “He wanted the best for me. He was an engineer; we were not poor or on welfare but always told me how hard he worked to get to where he was. He is always my inspiration. I'm where I am because of him,” Rios said. Nancy Gould DuVall’s dad used to be the fire chief in Venus when she was little. “But I remember the big red phone that he had to answer for what we now know as ‘911,’” she said. “He was a hero then and a hero now.” On a serious note, she remembers getting horrible ear infections. Her father would help her mom by sitting up with DuVall at night and just cupping his warm hand over her ear so the cool air wouldn't get in. “The simple things they do that we remember, those are the best,” she added.