Father of the Year winners have priorities straight


The winners of the 2014 InMaricopa.com Father of the Year contest presented by Ace Hardware and Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center know what’s most important.

Matthew Padzunas, Bill Whitworth and Timothy Gomez have eight kids between them and never let their hectic lives interfere with their most important role – father.

First place winner Matthew Padzunas is a father of three – Faye, 6; Maxx, 4; and Jack, 2. He took home a Weber Spirit E-310 Grill and accessories courtesy of Maricopa Ace Hardware.

“It’s a great feeling. The family, friends and co-workers that my wife reached out to really contributed. Seeing the same sponsors, ACE and Ultrastar, continue to support the city for as long as I’ve been here is amazing. I appreciate them a lot,” Padzunas said.

Padzunas works as a systems developer for Xerox. Working from home allows him to adjust his hours so he can spend time with his kids during the day.

Bill Whitworth, his wife Rebecca and their three children moved to Maricopa eight years ago. He has two teenagers – Amanda is 19 and Braiden 14 – and 8-year-old Cayden.

“I want to thank my daughter and my wonderful wife for nominating me,” Whitworth said.

“Thank you to my family and friends who took the time to vote! They all went out of their way to spread the word for me. There are a lot of great fathers out there that deserve awards.”

Rebecca said her husband finds quality time to spend with his children despite the demands on his time. Whitworth is a personal banker at Chase, volunteers with the Boy Scouts and is a full-time student working toward his bachelor’s degree in business.

“You would never know that Bill has so much on his plate,” Rebecca said. “He never has a complaint.”

Whitworth claimed a VIP UFC Fight Night party in UltraStar’s Luxe Party Room Center as his prize.

Timothy Gomez also juggles a lot of responsibilities while raising two boys, 3-year-old Carson and 3-month-old Jimmy.

He is an interim assistant to the chief of the Maricopa Police Department, research and teaching assistant at Arizona State University and a student at ASU pursuing a dual master’s in public administration and public policy.

Being a father, though, is his No.1 priority.

“I live for my eulogy, not for my resume,” Gomez said. “My two boys are far and away the most important aspect of my life, and nothing comes close. The birth of my first son realigned and altered my entire life philosophy. They are my pride and joy, and the greatest work that I will ever do. Every day spent with them is a new adventure that I don’t want to ever forget.”

“He is a wonderful daddy and a perfect husband,” said his wife Megan Gomez. “This man deserves the best. We love him with all of our hearts.”