Juru man Gary Prior — artist, community role model, father of seven children and foster father to four more — has been named the 2016 Queensland Father of the Year.

Passionate about teaching his children the value of giving back to the community and educating them about their Indigenous heritage and culture, Gary has dedicated his life to helping young people find their purpose.

Described by wife Janeen as a father to the fatherless, Gary is actively engaged in his local community in Bowen, teaching culture and traditional art in schools, mentoring children from broken families and driving buses for local church youth groups. He has also run a camp for young men coming out of juvenile detention to help them successfully transition back into society.

Gary’s service to the community has also inspired his own children to pursue a life in service to others. His eldest son is now a Police Liaison Officer in Townsville, while his second eldest is a Sport and Recreational Officer working with troubled children in the local community.

Gary says he hopes to inspire more fathers to support the mothers of their children, and teach the next generation that it’s better to give than to receive.

He was one of five regional finalists for the state-wide Queensland Father of the Year award, which was announced at a ceremony in Brisbane today.

Hosted by Scripture Union Queensland (SU QLD), the Queensland Father of the Year award is given to outstanding fathers for their exceptional commitment to raising their children, or their exemplary contribution to the development of children in the community.

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