A former Ballarat train driver has been named Victoria's Father of the Year.
Stephen Curran's daughter Sarah, 21, nominated her father for the state's top dad award in appreciation of the support he has given her and her siblings Ben, 31, and Matthew, 18.
The YMCA-sponsored award often goes to high-profile celebrity dads but Mr Curran's nomination stood out for his "unwavering support and dedication" after stepping up to become a full time carer for his wife Julie as she battled but ultimately lost her fight against cancer almost a year ago, caring for Ben who has spina bifida and supporting Sarah and Matthew in all their endeavours.
Mr Curran still makes sure the family sit down for dinner together at 6.30pm every night, sharing stories of their day and completing newspaper quizzes.
"You don't do fatherhood for the recognition. You be a father because you want to be a father but being nominated makes me proud that someone else respects what you've done," he said.
The Currans now live in Sunshine and moved away from Ballarat so Mr Curran could be a Metro train driver, a job he's now held for more than 40 years.
Since losing his wife of 31 years in October last year, Mr Curran has taken on the role of main carer for Ben, does the washing, cooking, cleaning, school and sport drop-offs and anything in-between for his family.
He starts work at 5am to drive trains and is home for dinner, which Sarah noted in her nomination is not something all families make the time to do.
Pre-COVID, he was at Matt's basketball and football training five nights a week, stepping in to referee and help when needed.
"He takes me everywhere. Sometimes I even play on the other side of the state and he'll take me there because he believes in me. He cares about me more than he cares about himself. He guides us in the right direction," Matt said.
Mr Curran said he was very surprised and very happy to be nominated for the award.
"My dad has been a dad for over 30 years, and throughout this time he and my mother suffered countless lows and highs, however throughout this he continues to work and show that he loves us," Sarah wrote in her nomination.
"The last few years however have been the most trying with mum passing away. It has taken its toll on him but he has continued to show us that perseverance can be unwavering in the face of continued stress and bad news."
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Mr Curran said the family was close and look after each other.
"Ben is in a wheelchair and can be a bit of a handful, Matt is in Year 12 and is doing well with home-schooling, I'm very proud of all my kids. They've gone through a hard time, and it's just part of being a dad - to be there for your children."
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