Sunshine Coast man named father of year
FIFTY-FIVE year old father-of-three and grandfather-of-one, Darin Browne, has been named the Sunshine Coast's top dad for his dedication toward his family and community through his work as a behavioural optometrist, foster parent, and supporting mothers fleeing domestic violence.
Darin's daughter, Tara Browne, nominated him for the award so he could be recognised for his dedication to his family and helping others in need.
"For as long as we can remember, dad has juggled full-time work with a busy schedule with a number of charity and volunteer endeavours but he never let that interfere with the quality time he gave his kids," Tara said.
"He has been a foster parent to children and teenagers for over 25 years. He is one of the founding couples of Lily House, which is a home for young mothers and infants fleeing domestic violence, homeless women of all ages, and pregnant young women.
"We know he loves us dearly and we can always rely on him to be there for us, no matter what happens in life."
Tara said her father has always had a heart for helping others in need.
"He will give whatever time and resources he has to help wherever he can. He will literally give the shirt off his back, or the car he relies on daily, if he sees someone in need," she said.
For Darin, being the Sunshine Coast's Queensland Father of the Year winner was humbling.
"I'm blown away! I feel very inadequate. I always feel like I could do a better job, do more, but my kids say I'm the best dad ever," Darin said before boarding a flight to India to visit and play music for children in orphanages.
Darin said the best part about being a dad was showing your children unconditional love.
"Your children might not always make the decisions you wish they would but you love them and respect them - my love for them is unconditional," he said.
"I love my childrens' hearts. I've got three girls who love people and accept and care for people who others don't. One of my daughters worked with refugees in Malaysia for 11 years, another daughter was a student doctor in India."
Beyond his immediate family, Darin has showed the same unconditional love through his time as a foster parent and his work at Lily House.
"There are so many needs out there among women who haven't had fathers or had bad fathers, and we (with wife of 34 years, Fiona) wanted to show them unconditional love, no matter what they did. We're still in touch with many of them."
Darin joins three other regional finalists now in the running for the state-wide Queensland Father of the Year, which will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday, August 30.
Hosted by SU QLD, the Queensland Father of the Year award honours outstanding fathers and father-figures for their exceptional commitment to raising their children, or for their exemplary contribution to the development of children in the wider community.
The 2018 Queensland Father of the Year will win 5 nights' accommodation at Sea World Resort and Water Park for the whole family for the duration of the stay.
For more information, go to qldfatheroftheyear.org.au or phone 1300 478 753.