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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 18, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 21Jun00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

LDS Father of the Year Puts Family First
Kansas City KS Star 18Jun00 P2
By Mary Sanchez: The Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS -- Jim Stotts was named 2000 Kansas City Father of the Year before 23 members of his family and fans at a Kansas City Royals game along with 59 other families who were honored as contest finalists. Stotts, a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and president of a general contracting firm, joked, "Now that I know a little about parenting, I'm all out of kids."

Stotts is the father of seven children and 12 grandchildren and is from Kearney. After his first wife died, he married his current wife, Dottie, and began a bond that has lasted 22 years. Together they have combined their families and added two more children. They never use the word "step" when referring to their children.

"My wife is an absolute rock," Stotts said. They have two Eagle Scouts, two student body presidents, five National Honor Society members, prom queens, football captains and a daughter who graduated from high school with 10 varsity letters.

Nearly 5,000 area schoolchildren wrote essays about their fathers. "You have to be there a lot of the time to be there at the right time," Stotts said. He recounted many nights waiting up for children, searching for them when they were not where they were supposed to be, and most important being there consistently with commitment.

Stotts' own father was "a good man, but he wasn't involved in my life." "I made a vow early that I would be there for my family and that I would never bring alcohol into my home," Stotts explained referring to his father's alcoholism.

Ken Canfield, founder and president of the Kansas City based National Center for Fathering, sponsored the contest along with the Royals. "We hope this sends a message that responsible fatherhood is achievable." "On every block there are dads who are doing the right thing," Canfield added. The center offers training to help men be better fathers.

"It seems like in this day and age everybody wants to pull you outside of home," Stotts said. "But for Dottie and I, we are committed to the fact that our family comes first."


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