By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Father of four Robert Reid was honored with the 2014 “All-Star” Dad Award at the 73rd annual Father of the Year Awards luncheon June 4 at the New York Hilton Hotel in New York City. The national award recognizes a special dad who embodies the values of fatherhood, and serves as a model of dedication, leadership and service to both his own children and his community.
Reid, 54, is vice president at BioDirection where his current focus is in the neurology field, specifically traumatic brain injury. He is the single father to Robert, 24, Julianne, 22, Olivia, 19, and Matthew, 17.
Reid was selected for the award after Julianne submitted an entry for a write-in campaign sponsored by the National Father's Day Committee, GQ and the Sani Family Foundation. Julianne, who recently graduated from the University of Maryland with a double major in business and English, describes her father as the most selfless person she knows.
“He is inspiring and lively in all his endeavors and brightens any room that he walks into,” she shared. “His passion and happiness is contagious to the people he encounters. He gives back to his community, as well as taking care of his family.”
Reid's passion in the neurology field is driven by his daughter Olivia, who has had intellectual and executive functioning disabilities due to epilepsy since she was a year old. Olivia's disability also fueled Reid's involvement with the Special Olympics of Massachusetts (SOMA). He has coached the Westborough Special Olympics swim team for the past 11 years (even after Olivia could no longer participate), working with over 100 swimmers. He recently attended the SOMA summer games at Boston University. Reid has not only volunteered as a swim coach, walked in local and national Epilepsy Foundation relays and participated in multiple fundraising efforts, he has done much more.
“My father has gone above and beyond to fight for Olivia and all individuals with disabilities. Although not required, he makes special certificates, awards and games for all his swimmers every year,” Julianne said. “He is the man who, for the past 30 years, has carried around several Dunkin” Donuts gift cards to give to the homeless individuals he passes. He has a “gratitude board,” and every week he writes three things he is grateful for. He is the definition of selfless.”
Reid, who lives by the motto “Anything is possible,” is a true believer in gratitude and works to instill that trait in all of his children. At the end of each year, he works with Olivia to design personal Christmas cards to thank everyone who has touched her life over the past year, including every employee at the family's favorite restaurant.
According to Julianne, her father brings fun and liveliness into every situation he enters.
“It is difficult for my sister to wake up for school because of her disorder,” she said. “So, in order to ease the process, in the mornings, he dresses up as Justin Bieber – I's talking hat, jacket, a headset microphone – and sings her favorite songs to make her smile!”
Reid said that he hopes his children will live their lives with unconditional love, compassion,
kindness and forgiveness and understand the power of touch. A legacy he hopes his grandchildren will embrace one day.
As stated by Chris Mitchell, vice president and publisher of GQ, “Robert's incredible courage, selflessness and dedication to his family is an inspiration not just to dads, but to all men.”