U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath and Hudson’s Bay Co. CEO Jerry Storch are no strangers to major accolades, but the Father of the Year Award might have an extra special place on their mantles.
The National Father’s Day Committee hosted its Annual Father of the Year Awards Luncheon in New York on Tuesday, drawing a large crowd for a particularly historic ceremony — one that marked 75 years since the inception of the event.
Biden, Namath and Storch, along with Ashok Sani “All Star” Dad award winner and U.S. Air Force master sergeant Christopher Irving, took the stage to accept their honors.
Biden, who recently lost his son Beau Biden to brain cancer, used his speech as an opportunity to dote on the accomplishments of all of his kids.
“I know I don’t deserve this award — other than by my father’s standards — he used to say, ‘You know you’re a success as a father if you turn and look at your child and you realize they turned out better than you,‘ ” Biden said after listing several of his children’s personal and professional achievements. “My three children turned out better than me in every way. That’s not hyperbole. That’s fact.”
Former New York Jets quarterback Namath brought his signature charm and upbeat humor to the ceremony, making light of parenting his two daughters Jessica, 30, and Olivia, 25.
“There were many days I had to go outside the house — I’d walk out there alone and look up and say ‘Why? Please help me, dear God: What don’t I understand about these females?’ ” Namath joked. “I have learned over the years of dealing with my daughters that they’re wonderful … it took me a while to get used to the fact that [I have to] go along with what they say and what they do, for the most part.”
Storch, who served as vice chairman at Target Corp. and CEO of Toys “R” Us Inc. before joining Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor owner HBC, reflected on the meaning and value of fatherhood.
“What does being a dad mean to me? Love and independence,” the father of five said. “The greatest gift we give our children is love, and in many ways that is probably more than enough. But beyond that — and sometimes it seems in conflict — we teach our children to make their own way in the world [and] to have the skills and presence to be truly independent.”
Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network and 2008 honoree, hosted the event. Proceeds from the luncheon are expected to benefit the nonprofit organization Save the Children.
Past Father of the Year honorees include George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, Colin Powell and NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal.