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      SC Army dad in the running for 2012 Military Fatherhood Award

      An Army father based at South Carolina's Fort Jackson is one of three finalists for the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award.

      FORT JACKSON, S.C. (AP) -- An Army father based at South Carolina's Fort Jackson is one of three finalists for the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award.

      Fort Jackson spokesman Pat Jones says 1st Lt. William Edwards is the lone Army finalist in the contest.

      Edwards never misses a day with his children, even when there's an ocean between them, according to Wallace McBride with Fort Jackson Public Affairs.

      The 32-year-old Edwards is the father of four children, ages 6 to 12. His wife, Esther, nominated her husband, and cited videos the soldier made for his children while deployed in Iraq.

      â??Some dads will read stories on video before they leave so theyâ??ll have those while their gone,â?? his wife, Esther, said. â??He did that, and sang songs for them. That became a cherished video for them that theyâ??d watch every night. While he was out there, he took it a step further and made a video called, â??The Day with Daddy.â?? It was from sunup to sundown, what his day was like in Iraq.â??

      William told McBride he tried to capture his regular daily activities, from the mundane, such as brushing his teeth in the morning, to the adventurous.

      After capturing his day on video, he added special effects and music just to make sure his children were entertained.

      â??I carried a camera with me everywhere I went, just so they would get an idea that I was with them,â?? said Edwards.

      Esther Williams says her husband plays in a band with his children, dresses up in superhero costumes with them and is not afraid to get silly with them.

      â??We put together a little show that weâ??ve played in Columbia,â?? said Edwards. â??We start with the â??40s and jazz, then we go into the â??60s and â??70s. We do two songs from each era. (The children) like it and have fun with it, but itâ??s also taught them about music, which is a big part of our family. I think a lot of people get a kick out of seeing real young kids performing in a show, too.â??

      Edwards knows that each day he has with his children is special.

      â??As theyâ??ve gotten older I canâ??t believe how fast time has gone by,â?? he said. â??Iâ??ve only got a certain amount of time with them and Iâ??ve got to make those years count. If Iâ??m here or if Iâ??m deployed, I have to make sure Iâ??m being a father to them," said Edwards.

      Jones says the public will be able to vote for their choice to win the award starting Monday. Voting closes May 20.


      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)