BALLINGER - When Ballinger native and father of six Chad McDuffee wakes up on Fathers Day, he'll likely have his children nearby, either feeding him breakfast in bed or asking them for help with a video game.
BALLINGER - When Ballinger native and father of six Chad McDuffee wakes up on Fathers Day, he’ll likely have his children nearby, either feeding him breakfast in bed or asking them for help with a video game.
McDuffee and his wife of 13 years Jaslyn, recently grew their family to include two more children after adopting two of their nephews.
But for McDuffee and his family, the bigger the better. The 2000 Ballinger High School graduate grew up with a big family so now, as father to Amaya 3, Cade 6, Chaz, 7, Alana 9, Nathan, 13 and Jayden 17, he and his wife work in tandem to make sure the McDuffee ship is sailing smoothy.
“I grew up that way,” McDuffee said.
McDuffee, a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in the military police and was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 2013, is a big fan of young folks. This past year he began working at Ballinger ISD in the special education department. And when he wasn’t working - he was coaching boys and girls basketball, girls softball and 7 on 7 football.
McDuffee not only gives back to his family, but to the community as well. He has organized the Justin Byler Memorial 5K for the past three years. As an amputee, since 2015, he has worked hard to challenge himself.
And the past few years have been very special in terms of being a father.
In 2016, he and Jaslyn took in six of their nieces and nephews, which for a time, meant 10 children in the McDuffee household.
Since then some have grown up and others went to other family members - but he makes sure all of the siblings and the family sees each other as much as possible. So in the end, two of the children were adopted.
On May 17, he and Jaslyn formally adopted Nathan and Jayden, which he said was one of the happiest days for the entire family.
“It was exciting - we had been waiting for it for so long,” McDuffee said. “We were looking for normal after two years of chaos.”
McDuffee said after the adoption, his son Cade gave his newly adopted brother Jayden a hug and said “I’m so happy you are my real brother now.”
“It made my heart swell,” McDuffee said.
Jaslyn McDuffee said in December, they will have been together for 18 years and that Chad is a great husband and father.
“He’s a very active father and very involved in the kids academics and sports life,” she said “He makes sure they stay on task and encourages them to do and be better. He depends on me for a lot, but he really is the rock of our family. We all love him so much and are so very thankful that he pushed himself and didn’t give up despite his injury and has been a better version of himself ever since his amputation.”
As for the children, their hearts swell when they speak of their dad.
“I think he is a great dad!,” said Nathan.
Cade said his favorite thing about his dad is how he dresses up.
“I like it when he lets me go to the store a lot,” Cade said.
Alana, said her dad helps her with her homework.
“I love my dad very much,” Alana said.
And Chad’s advice to fathers everywhere?
“If you treat every decision with love it makes those decisions much easier,” he said. “Know that the smallest thing could make the biggest difference for a child.”