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best Dad

Best Dad in Maricopa winner Michael Sabo, with wife Jheymmy, daughter Belana and son Kenny, and presented a new grill by Maricopa Ace Hardware owner Mike Richey.

A resident of Maricopa since 2006, Michael Sabo was named Best Dad in Maricopa through an online poll at InMaricopa. The contest was sponsored by Ace Hardware to celebrate Father’s Day.

“It’s amazing,” Sabo said. “Very amazing.”

Sabo, a business analyst with two children, was nominated three times, and his wife Jheymmy reached out to every relative and friend she had across the country to urge them to vote. At stake was a Traeger grill with wood pellets, grill cover and Slot Dog.

“All of my co-workers were like, ‘You owe us a barbecue,’” Jheymmy said.

Sabo said they intend to grill up some carne asada Sunday, Father’s Day. He was one of 40 nominees who drew a combined 10,962 votes.

In nominating her husband, Jheymmy used many terms: “Supportive, determined, loyal, honest, role model, considerate, involved, grateful, strong family values, patient, easy-going.”

She said family has always been his top priority.

“His love and care for our wonderful children is unmeasurable,” she said. “I’m blessed to call him my husband and best friend.”

Tanya Dye also called him “an amazing man” in a separate nomination. “He has a way of conquering the mountains in life to obtain a master’s degree in finance, to teach his children the most important lesson is to never give up.”

The runner-up for Best Dad was local business owner Bo Johnson.

“He’s really good with the kids; it’s all about the kids all the time,” said wife Michelle.

Her nomination including a photo of her husband covering his daughter’s dance outfit with rhinestones.

“Most know him for Yogurt Jungle, but our kids know him as daddy and that title is even more rewarding for him,” she said.

“I was surprised at first, because we got so many votes right off the bat,” he said.

The second-place prize from Ace was a 240-piece Craftsman socket set and a 100-piece ratcheting screwdriver and bit set.

“Honestly, I’ll probably use this more than I would the grill,” Johnson said.

See all the wonderful nominees at InMaricopa.com/contests.

Best Dad Runner-Up Bo Johnson with wife Michelle, daughter Tessa, son Avery and Mike Richey.

Zack Park (center) was voted Best Dad in Maricopa in a Facebook contest sponsored by InMaricopa and Maricopa Ace Hardware, winning a grill package. With him are his family, wife Kim and kids Taylor and Cooper, InMaricopa's Vincent Manfredi and Ace's Troy Ricci. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Zack Park came a bit late to fatherhood. In fact, he wasn’t much interested in it for the first 28 years of his life.

Now he has been voted the Best Dad in Maricopa, thanks to a serious online campaign by his 10-year-old son Cooper that was picked up by friends, family and colleagues across the globe. The contest ran on InMaricopa’s Facebook page and drew 25 nominations.

In the final days, Park was in a neck-and-neck, friendly battle with Matt Lincoln, ultimately garnering 344 “likes” to win a Traeger grill with a cover and wood pellets from Maricopa Ace Hardware.

“It’s awesome,” Park said. “I tried to keep [the nomination] on the down-low. ‘What are you people talking about?’”

Instead, his nomination was even Down Under, with likes coming from as far away as Australia. The Parks, it turns out, have a wide fanbase.

Zack and Kim Park have been married 11 years and are the parents of Cooper and 8-year-old Taylor.

“When I first met her, I never wanted kids,” Park said. “But after having these kids, I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

In nominating his dad, Cooper said, “He works all day in the hot sun and comes home and spends time with us. He makes sure we get to our sport events, tutoring, cheer and dance clubs on time and never misses a game. He is the best dad ever!”

“He works super-hard,” his daughter Taylor said.

“They keep us busy and keep us on our feet,” Park said. “I wouldn’t change it for anything,” he said again.

What they’re saying:

Stephen Joy He is a cool guy! Always there for his kids!

Casey Warner Zack is a pretty cool guy!

Stephanie Belanger Brown He’s an amazing dad!

Risa Shuman Zack’s got my vote for father of the year

Happy Father’s Day.

Matt Lincoln (far left) picks up his second-place prize from the Best Dad in Maricopa contest at Maricopa Ace Hardward. With him are (from left) daughter Talia, son Devin, son Nicholas, William Gonzalez and Troy Ricci of Ace, wife Yvette, son Matthew and son Jordan. Not pictured: Jeshuah Lincoln.

Among 25 outstanding nominees for Best Dad in Maricopa presented by Maricopa Ace Hardware, two ran away from the pack in online voting. Finishing in second place by just 16 “likes” on Facebook was Matt Lincoln.

The father of six, including two adopted children, holds down two full-time jobs, one in retail and one as the youth pastor over more than 100 kids at Church of Celebration. Lincoln said he was humbled by the support for his nomination, whch totaled 328 likes.

“It’s a blessing to even be considered for it,” he said. “That that many people actually voted and took the time to actually have an opinion about it is pretty amazing.”

Lincoln first became a father at the age of 19 when Matthew came into the world.

“It was life-changing,” Lincoln said. “I had to grow up really, really fast. I had to learn wisdom very, very quickly for survival. It’s probably the best thing that happened to me.”

He was nominated by wife Yvette and children Matthew, Jeshuah, Nicholas, Jordan, Devin and Talia.

“He leads, lives and loves wholeheartedly with the mindset of building up the next generation to succeed,” Yvette Lincoln said in her nomination. “He’s selfless, humble and he never gives up on anyone. He pushes through every battle.”

Matt Lincoln said his philosophy of fatherhood is “God first.”

“In order to be a great father, you have to learn from the creator of fatherhood, and that’s God,” he said. “So, I follow those principles, and that’s worked pretty well.”

Lincoln’s prize was an exterior paint project from Dun Edwards that included six 5-gallon buckets of paint, a 4-foot aluminum ladder, brushes, drop cloth, roller tray set and roller covers. The Lincoln family picked up their prize at Maricopa Ace Hardware on Friday. Yvette Lincoln said they recently received an HOA reminder that it was time to repaint the house.

Meet the winner

Joshua Nichols (left) picks up his Father of the Year prize from Maricopa Ace Hardware’s Mike Richey. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Joshua and Katrina Nichols have been married 15 years. They are raising four children.

That includes twins. That includes adopted children. That includes children with special needs.

Maricopans since October 2013, the Nicholses have home-schooled their children, ages 7 (the twins), 12 and soon-to-be 14, at their Tortosa home to this point. Katrina Nichols saw that as an added challenge and thought her husband deserved a little recognition.

Katrina nominated Joshua as InMaricopa’s Father of the Year, or, in her words, “Best Dad ever.”

“I’m just really touched that she would do that,” Nichols said.

InMaricopa readers voted online for four finalists in what turned out to be a tight race that came out in Joshua’s favor.

“Josh is the best dad I have ever met,” Katrina Nichols said in nominating her husband. “He loves with his whole heart. He makes each of our children feel special and finds ways to connect with them on a daily basis.

“I love the way he is always there for them. From soccer games to choir concerts, from board game nights to video game marathons, you name it, he’s in! We are so very lucky to have his love and support.”

Joshua Nichols said he was honored to be nominated with the four finalists, all outstanding fathers in Maricopa. His rewards were presented by Maricopa Ace Hardware – a portable spa, a portable hammock and a rolling cooler.