By Carolyn Kessel
Stewart / Daily News Staff Sunday,
June 19, 2005
Good fathers deserve to be rewarded.
Two "Super Dads" from Framingham
and Hudson will be very publicly thanked
this afternoon by their daughters,
who plan to express their gratitude
before an expected 15,000 people at
Michael Generazio of Framingham and
Kevin Sullivan of Hudson were named
"Super Dads" and will be
honored, to their surprise, at the
"Dads Make a Difference"
celebration, part of the Fathering
Jillian Generazio was in the unusual
position of choosing the man she now
calls Daddy, her "Uncle Mike"
Her birth father took drugs and abused
her family, Jillian said, so she began
spending weekends with Uncle Mike
and his wife, Veronica Generazio.
They would walk the Generazios' dogs
together, visit museums, go sledding
or pick up ice cream. When she was
with her uncle, Jillian said she finally
felt like a kid, learning to "smile,
laugh, run and play."
Generazio, 52, was like a big kid
himself, she said. He was someone
who would laugh and play with her.
And, as she got older, he offered
sage advice, listened to her and cheer
her on in academics and activities.
Although her parents did not seem
interested, Jillian said, Uncle Mike
was in the audience of all her Framingham
High School drama productions.
He took pictures at her track meets
and still keeps a collection of her
fifth-grade poems and paintings in
his office at New England Sand and
Gravel. She moved in with her aunt
and uncle at 13.
"(To be a dad), I think it takes
a lot of patience, which is a lot
of what he has, and a lot of love,"
Jillian took her uncle's last name
when she turned 18 last year, and
considers him her true father. The
fact that she is now succeeding in
college is proof of his influence,
she said. Jillian just finished her
first year at Western New England
College in Springfield, where she
is studying early childhood education.
She hopes to become a foster parent
and set up school programs that encourage
parents to be involved in their children's
lives, just like her "daddy"
Three little girls in Hudson cannot
wait to share their story of a "Super
Dad." He loves to play, too.
Lauren, Cara and Abigail Sullivan
nominated their dad, Kevin, as a "Super
Dad" who they are lucky enough
to get to spend lots of time with.
Sullivan, 38, works as an overnight
counselor at a program for adolescents
Lynne Sullivan, an occupational therapist,
said her husband has taken on fatherhood
with gusto, chaperoning field trips
and picking up his daughters from
"His priority is having fun with
the kids and making sure all their
needs get met," said Lynne Sullivan
of Priest Street.
Lauren, 4, loves to do acrobatics
with her dad and play Candyland.
"I think my dad is a super dad
'cuz he gives us doughnuts and sometimes
he gives up ice cream," she said.
Cara, 6, and Abigail, 7, also love
getting an after school treat with
"He's nice to us. And when it's
like our birthday, he tickles us,"
Today is the eighth annual "Dads
Make a Difference" celebration.
The Fathering Project, said spokesman
Tony Palombo, was created to increase
awareness about how important active,
involved "fathering" is
to children and communities.
"We support and celebrate fathering
in concrete ways," Palombo said.
The Medical Foundation, a nonprofit
public health group out of Boston,
studies the importance of fathers
to institutions and communities, such
as whether the absence of a father
correlates to violence in families
"In the changing environment,
you see a lot more two-income families.
And in a lot of ways, dads are forced
to pick up their end of the child
rearing and found in many ways it
was a great thing," Palombo said.
The group offers an annual workshop
on fathering and encourages support
and education on how to be a good
More information on the Medical Foundation
and the Fathering Project is at www.tmfnet.org.