Service to family and country - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Service to family and country

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Patrick Mondragon is a caring husband to Violet, his wife of 14 years. He's a devoted dad to his nine-year-old daughter Olivia and eight-year-old son Adam. But he's not always around those he loves best.

"I am a religious program specialist in the Navy. I work with Navy chaplins. We support faith groups, multiple faith groups for all military personnel," he explained.

His day job has taken him to the Arabian Gulf, the Persian Gulf, Somalia and just last month, Patrick returned from deployment in Afghanistan.

An entire wall of his Chula Vista home is filled with awards and proclamations, but his greatest honor may be on the horizon. Patrick is one of four finalists for the military's fatherhood of the year award.

"The Military Fatherhood Award recognizes fathers who display dedication to their children. They make outstanding efforts to father from a distance when they are deployed, and they also recognize dads who help other children of military families as well," Patrick said.

Unbeknownst to her husband, it was Violet who went on the fatherhood website.

"I went ahead and filled out the application and turned it in," Violet said.

She is very proud of her husband's involvement with the United through Reading program.

"Sailors who are deployed can read a book to their children while we videotape them, and then we send those videotapes home and the kids get to watch them," Patrick explained.

"He made over 300 videos to send home to military families during deployment," Violet said.

You can go to the Fatherhood website's Facebook page anytime before May 12 and see the four finalists' videos and vote once a day. Meanwhile, Patrick has already received two key endorsements.

"Vote for our dad," Olivia and Adam said.

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