Contest win surprises Bradenton area dads

mclear@bradenton.comJune 22, 2013 

Gerardo DeLeon had one of those "you may already be a winner" moments.

On Thursday he got a call from the Bradenton Herald telling him had won the paper's Father's Day photo contest.

"I didn't even know I was entered in that contest until you called," DeLeon said. "My wife did that. I didn't even know there was a contest."

Herald readers were asked to submit favorite photos of their dads, along with reasons why they have the best dad ever. Dozens of people entered and readers voted on their favorite.

Veronica DeLeon submitted a photo of her husband putting lipstick on their 4-year-old daughter Alexza, along with the words, "My dad is the best because he helps me with my makeup."

It's part of a common father-daughter ritual at the DeLeon home in Bradenton.

"Either I do it or she does it, and if she does it she looks like a clown," DeLeon said. "Literally every time we go to a party or to the mall she has to wear lipstick. She's

a little diva, is what she is. She's starting early."

Alexza's 5-year-old sister, Mia, is just as fond of makeup, DeLeon said.

Second place went to Jose Ordonez of Palmetto. His 14-year-old daughter Yesenia submitted photos of him with his son Isaac, 8, and daughter Melina, 2. Like DeLeon, who coincidentally is a friend of his, Ordonez first heard about the contest only when Yesenia told him she had entered.

"My dad is the best because he has been there for me since day one and I'm thankful!" Yesenia wrote. "He's an amazing, caring and loving man."

It's not often teenagers show that kind of affection for their parents in public. That made Yesenia's gesture even more meaningful for Ordonez.

"I was so flattered," he said. "I'm very proud of her."

The third-place photo, of a little girl beaming at her father, came from Rachel Kerley of Bradenton.

Each of the three winning dads received a $50 gift card, either to Crowder Brothers Ace Hardware, Backyards N More or American Car Care Center.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7919. Follow him on Twitter @martinclear.

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