KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Father's Day is still a few days away, but the Kansas City Royals and Fathers.com got a jump start on the celebration Tuesday night. This is the 19th year the National Center for Fathering has hosted its essay contest. Even though one was named 'Father of the Year,' every man felt like a winner.
Chris Jenkins is the father of two girls. The smile on his face may be around for a while after hearing what his oldest daughter, Emilia, wrote about him:
"What my father means to me is that I will always be loved and he makes sure I am growing up right. He protects me and makes sure I have everything I need. When I am scared at night, he makes sure I have my stuffed animals," Emilia Jenkins read.
Jenkins could barely contain his emotions.
"I'm humbled, that she can say those words about me and that she loves me that much," Chris said.
Jenkins' reaction was similar to dozens of other at the 2014 Kansas City Father of the Year celebration. Every year the essay contest praises fathers, grandfathers and role models for being involved in young people's lives. The center's CEO, Carey Casey, says it makes a huge difference.
"When dad is not there, a child's more likely to be poor, drop out of school or be involved in crime," explained Casey.
But Casey says involvement, like he saw with the men being honored Tuesday night , flip-flops the negative statistics and makes a child's chance of success skyrocket.
The highlight of the celebration, five 'Father of the Year' finalists were honored on the field at Kauffman Stadium, then the winner was announced in front of everyone.
Steve Huff was named father of the year. He said he was speechless, honored and very proud of his son, Braxton.
The 'Father of the Year' award is called the 'Dan Quisenberry Championship Fathering Award.' It's named in memory of the Royals relief pitcher who was not only a role model in the clubhouse, but at home as well.