australian father of the year

Australian Community Father of The Year 2022

Rick Pekan

Rick Pekan has dedicated his life to raising kids who need it most. Rick and wife Louise, have four children of their own and two forever children who often get mistaken for twins and have cared for over fifty foster children in the twelve years they’ve been foster carers.

He has a special place in his larger than life heart for every child he’s had the opportunity to help and support.

If you were to catch him in the suburbs of Perth with his clan, you wouldn’t know his biological kids from his foster kids – he loves them and cares for them all, with equal gusto.

Rick is a patient and flexible father, who envelopes the complexities of being a father to children of various ages and takes them within his stride, while helping other fathers and parents on their journeys. Rick spends time coaching other dads, particularly foster dads on their own journeys. He has a way of being able to listen to what is said, and what isn’t to help parents find a path forward.

His friend Mark says, “I’m very impressed by their commitment – Rick, has a relaxed approach to parenting and can see beyond behavioural issues. He’s patient and has good personal boundaries.”

“His identity shines through outside of being in permanent parental duties

Rick understands that the power of his actions as a father and father figure can change the trajectory of the lives of the children that he and his wife Louise have the privilege to welcome and care for.

While most foster children only stay for a few months at a time, there is one particular child that was in his care for over two years who became and remains a part of their familys weekly life. This is the positive impact of his actions and the strength of being a father and father figure.

“Rick continues to step out to ensure teens and young adults can have someone to talk to and show up for them by  volunteering at youth groups, weekend sport competitions and he will umpire (almost) any sport. One of the most amazing things Rick has done is continue to build a relationship with a child who left our home nearly 8 years ago, he is known as ‘Daddy Rick’ within our fostering community and has multiple kids seeking his attention when we get together”, says Louise.

Rick grew up with a father who provided well but was mostly absent from his life. He has had the space and opportunity to have wonderful father figures in his younger years and has selflessly dedicated his life to being a positive role model for others.

A heartfelt message from Rick

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