At a young age, Roy Munson Jr. learned that life would present obstacles. His father, the Rev. Roy Munson of Greater Faith Christian Community in Baltimore, and his mother, Joyce, a nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital, instilled a path to overcome any barrier.
“My dad inspired me. He instilled so many values in me at a young age. When I got older, all of the great advice he had given me kicked in,” said Munson, who was selected as Baltimore’s 2021 Father of the Year by the nonprofit Fathers Incorporated. The father of four girls— Tyleen, Kyaira, Myia and Tytianna— and a son, Michael, Munson and his wife, Latosha, are nurses.
Fathers Incorporated cited the diligent work of Munson assisting his children with homework and school assignments while working 16-hour shifts as his wife completed nursing school. Munson also cared for a niece who struggles with sickle cell, and he once volunteered with his mother at a local soup kitchen.
“This award really means a lot to me,” said Munson, nominated by Pastor Lacy Allen of the Agape Praise and Worship Center. “I was definitely surprised by that nomination, but it feels good to be appreciated.” The award also comes with a $2,500 cash prize, but Munson declined the money and asked that Fathers Incorporated use it to start a scholarship fund for young men.
“My children were so happy for me to win the award,” Munson noted. “I don’t think they were thrilled that I gave the money back,” he added, laughing.
The Father of the Year Award recognizes a father living in the city of Baltimore or its surrounding communities whose challenges and triumphs have manifested in his life experience and personal journey and beyond his profession and career achievements. The organization said it seeks a father, who amid mayhem and chaos, changed or seriously impacted the lives of his children, family, and community for the better.
“Ideally, the recipient of the award will be a father whose actions and achievements uphold the concepts of family and community,” said Ernest Woodson, who helped to launch Fathers Incorporated more than three decades ago. “We’re all about trying to make a difference,”
Woodson declared, adding that Fathers Incorporated also has a returning citizens program to help integrate individuals back into the community.
“We want to work with people who want to make a change. The Father of the Year program was built on somewhat of a spiritual platform where we go into the neighborhood where there is chaos and crime, and we try to find the father who is doing what’s good and what’s right, and we hold him up as a role model to the rest.”
He said Munson’s story is one of challenges and triumphs, compelling, and worthy of sharing. When Munson’s first wife died, he worked two jobs to care for his children— including two from foster care— and his elderly mother. As a nurse, Munson works with developmentally disabled children and those with difficulty breathing.
“My mother was the one who got me into nursing because she worked really hard and inspired me to want to do this,” Munson said.
While he reveled in the Father of the Year honor, Munson said he still must work to keep his children— particularly his son— on the right path. “The main advice I would give to other fathers [is] that we have to point the way constantly,” Munson said. “I stay on my son about school, and I keep trying to motivate him because we don’t want to lose our children to the streets. We have to push them because the streets can be trouble.”
To learn more about Fathers Incorporated and the Father of the Year Award, visit: www.fathersincorporated.net.