MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – Military fathers fight for our country and in some cases must leave their children for months at a time. <br /> <br /> Chief Petty Officer Patrick Mondragon, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing religious ministries’ senior enlisted leader, earned the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award during a ceremony held aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., sponsored by National Fatherhood Initiative, June 13.<br /> <br /> Military Fatherhood Award recognizes fathers who must make this sacrifice and still go above and beyond to be there for their children, needs to be successful at balancing military and family life, and makes an effort to mentor other military fathers. Mondragon displays all of those. <br /> <br /> Mondragon ran the United Through Reading program while on deployment aboard the USS Bunker Hill in 2007. The United Through Reading program allows deployed service members to record a video of themselves reading and send it home to their families. <br /> <br /> “I did a little over 300 recordings and recorded other sailors and Marines reading to their families and sent them home,” said Mondragon. <br /> <br /> In addition to his work with United Through Reading, Mondragon takes additional steps to remain close with his family despite a hectic schedule both forward and on the home front.<br /> <br /> “I try to take one day of leave once a month and I just spend it with my family,” said Mondragon. <br /> <br /> Violet Mondragon, his wife of 14 years and award nominator, knows how hard he works for his children. <br /> <br /> “He is always doing [activities] with the kids and we’re out every weekend taking trips or doing something active,” said the Los Gatos, Calif. native. <br /> <br /> Mondragon has even gone the extra mile to help his fellow military dads. He wrote a list of 25 tips on how to be a great military dad and it is all based on what he does at home which can be found on the National Fatherhood Initiative website, explained Violet. <br /> <br /> Mondragon also uses what he has learned from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general’s committed and engaged leadership initiative to be a better father and leader. <br /> <br /> “Being a committed and engaged leader is about knowing your people and knowing their families,” said Mondragon. “Being a good military parent goes hand-in-hand with being a good military leader.” <br /> <br /> His driving force is not just to be a great dad to his son and daughter but to help any parent be better for their children. <br /> <br /> “Everybody can be a great dad you don’t need an award or title to prove that,” said Mondragon. <br /> <br /> With more than 600 nominees, he never thought he would receive this honor. <br /> <br /> “There are hundreds if not thousands of tremendous military dads,” said Mondragon, a San Jose, Calif. native. “I was thrilled. I was so surprised. I was in shock.” <br /> <br /> Friends, co-workers and family members attended the ceremony and congratulated him for all his work. <br /> <br /> To find out more information on the Military Fatherhood Award visit http://www.fatherhood.org.