Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Dad contributes where it matters most (A dad for all seasons)
Los Angeles Times 19Jun99 L5
By Darrell Satzman
LDS Church member and father Dan Forester is loved by his family. Forester,
a freelance video editor helps his children, sings to them, helps his
daughter with her homework, and provides a lap for cuddling. But Forester
is a little unusual as a father because he has spinal muscular atrophy
which confines him to a wheelchair.
While he was born with this condition, Forester was able to walk until an
operation meant to strengthen his legs resulted in additional atrophy.
Forester was then faced with a choice between strenuous physical therapy so
that he could walk again, or getting an education.
He went to BYU, earning a bachelor's degree in film production. From there
he moved to Austin, Texas, where he med and married his wife of 11 years,
Terry. She admits difficulty adjusting to the fact that Dan couldn't walk,
after growing up the daughter of a "a barrel-chested ex-Marine with a
bulldog tattoo." She had to rethink her notions about masculinity during
their courtship. "I learned so much," Tracy said. "I dated guys who were
able-bodied but Dan was head and shoulders above them in compassion and
Now Forester works on television shows like "Cybill," "Grace Under Fire"
and the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," which his 9-year-old daughter thinks is
cool. "I like to tell my friends and they get all excited," says McKenna.
Forester says that fatherhood is the biggest challenge and the biggest joy
of his life. "It's a wonderful responsibility and a wonderful opportunity
to be one of the two people a child relies on most for guidance," he said.
And his wife says he is a great father. "Dan really has a wonderful bond
with both of them," Tracy said. "Dan's a very patient dad and he's very
compassionate and kind."