Eastpointe man wins Father of the Year contest

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 13, 2018

 Army Maj. Matthew Wernert was selected to deliver the ball before the Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park in Detroit on July 3, 2015. After being nominated by his mother, he won the 2018 Better Made Snack Foods Father of the Year contest.

Army Maj. Matthew Wernert was selected to deliver the ball before the Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park in Detroit on July 3, 2015. After being nominated by his mother, he won the 2018 Better Made Snack Foods Father of the Year contest.

Photo provided by Franklin Dohanyos

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EASTPOINTE — An Eastpointe man has been named the Father of the Year after being nominated by his mother in the 2018 Better Made Snack Foods Father of the Year contest. 

Annette Wernert nominated her son, Army Maj. Matthew Wernert — an active-duty contracting officer who is stationed in Grafenwoehr, Germany — and he will receive a sampler box of Better Made products. He is scheduled to be back in the United States in August. 

“I would like to nominate my son, Army Major Matthew Wernert, as Father of the Year,” Wernert stated in her contest entry. “Matt has been married for eleven years, and during that time, he has been deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq. Matt and his wife, Leslie, have three sons. They adopted their eldest son, Devon, when he was 14 years old, three years ago. Matt is an exemplary father and sets examples of honor and respect to his children. I am proud that he is my son and proud of his bravery in serving our country. Thank you.” 

C & G Newspapers was able to speak to Matthew via email July 11. He stated that the announcement came as a surprise to him. 

“I felt surprised and honored. I did not know my mom had nominated me or that Better Made even had an award for it. I felt happy to be selected among other very good candidates and to be able to represent the U.S. Army and my family,” stated Wernert. 

Wernert has been in the Army for 14 years, and he explained why he decided to serve his country. 

“I decided to serve because I feel that with all the rights that we as U.S citizens have, I should give something back to my country. I want to help keep my family and country safe, and I enjoy helping people,” stated Wernert. 

He is stationed with his wife, Leslie, and three sons: Devon, who is now 17; Lucas, 10; and Isaac, 7. 

He stated that the reason he and his wife wanted to adopt was that they “wanted to give a child who had a rough time growing up a loving home and a chance to succeed in life.”

For the past three years, he and his family have lived in Germany. However, he explained how he communicates with his family and parents when he is on business trips. 

“When I do go on business trips to other countries, I’m able to call home anytime, and we use Facebook messenger video a lot. We use it to talk with my parents in Michigan on a weekly basis,” he stated.

Wernert awards contracts for supplies and services that the Army needs to conduct operations and training, and he manages contracting support operations for his unit, which is the 928th Contracting Battalion in Grafenwoehr, Germany. 

He stated that his father, his uncles and his mother’s father have inspired him to be a great dad. 

“I was taught to show everyone dignity and respect and be honorable, responsible and reliable. I was also taught to work hard and give 100 (percent) in everything I do, and never give up. I have an uncle who is a retired Army colonel, and my mom’s father served in (World War II) in Europe. Finally, my mom had also inspired me by telling my brother and I that everyone is going through something, so it’s always good to be kind and generous to people,” he stated. 

His family members have dealt with some challenges being out of the country, but they’ve overcome them. He stated that he and his wife both teach their sons “to appreciate the world around them and (realize) how lucky we are to be U.S citizens.” 

“Moving every 2-3 years is hard on the kids’ friendships. A lot of hard goodbyes, which is something I never had to do because I lived in Michigan for the first 18 years of my life. We have overcome them by trying to be positive, give our kids opportunities to be active through sports and clubs, and show a lot of love and spend quality time with our kids,” he stated. 

As for his children learning from him, Wernert hopes they “learn everything I mentioned above and to remember how lucky we are to live in the USA. I hope one day they all decide to give something back to the community and the country through some kind of service, and it does not have to be through the military.” 

Cathy Gusmano, of Better Made, stated in a press release that Wernert was deserving of the award. 

“We had another great selection of letters this year, and each of them had merit. In the end, we really thought that Matthew deserved this honor, and we’re all proud of him and his service to our country.”

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