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Celebrating Dad: Local fathers share love for children

Chad Harville and his children, Walker, Elee and Caitlyn hang out after enjoying lunch. Although Harville has to work on Father's Day, his kids are planning a big surprise.

By Gabby Boyd

gboyd@dailycorinthian.com

Police Sgt. Chad Harville will be patrolling the streets of Corinth on Father's Day.

When his shift ends, his three kids will be waiting.

"We are going to surprise him with a gift, because he is a great dad," said Caitlyn, Harville's 12-year-old eighth grader. "He takes care of us, makes sure we have food and our manners in order."

When Harville's not in uniform, he spends as much time as possible with his children, who along with Caitlyn includes 11-year-old Walker and six-year-old Elee.

He's one of the many single fathers out there.

"They are my world," said Harville. "There is nothing I wouldn't do for them. I would lay down my life for them if I had to."

Harville's life changed in 2015 when he became a single parent.

"It was very challenging at first, because I was the mom and the dad. I had to cook, clean, work, make sure they were fed, chores were done, teeth were brushed, had their baths and did their homework," said Harville.

The police officer said he made sure his kids are taken care of.

"I make sure they have everything they need," said the Alcorn Central High School graduate.

Caitlyn was born when Harville was 24-years-old. He said it changed his whole perspective about life.

"I just broke down and cried when they placed this little baby in my arms. So many thoughts rushed through my mind. I was happy, nervous and anxious, but knew I had a big responsibility in my life now," said Harville, who has been with CPD for 17 years.

The officer does his best to attend all of his kids extracurricular activities.

"At their age they stay busy, but I try my best to be at every event. My work is pro-family and they help me work around my schedule for my kids," said the proud father.

He also takes them on vacations and to water parks in the summer time.

Harville said there is one thing, which has changed since becoming a single father.

"When it comes to dating, it can be a little challenging. I let the lady know up front that I have three kids and raising them is my number one priority. Sometimes they are not alright with that and it doesn't work out," said Harville.

Another challenge for the officer is raising a preteen daughter as a single father.

"It's like raising a mini version of me except she isn't a boy. Girls are a bit more needier and since she is becoming a teenager she needs a lot more things. I also try to educate her about boys," he said.

Much like Harville, local attorney John Windsor loves his children.

Windsor and his wife Claire, a speech language pathologist waited six years to start their family.

Now the couple shares three children.

"Every one talked about what it's like being a parent and I always wondered what all the fuss was about until my wife became pregnant with our daughter, Grace," said the Corinth lawyer.

He said the whole time it has seemed surreal.

"My first thoughts were ... is this really happening," said Windsor. "I was afraid, nervous, excited and ready for the challenge."

The attorney said after Grace was born his life completely changed.

"At first my wife I had our own schedule, but when she arrived everything revolved around her. When the baby was asleep, we would sleep. When the baby was up, we were awake. The baby was now the boss of our time," said the Mississippi College School of Law graduate.

Windsor and his wife quickly became accustomed to their new schedule and went on to have two more children, four-year-old Jack and one-year-old Polly. His daughter, Grace is now six-years-old and in first grade.

Windsor said he learned a lot after the first child was born and God put he and Claire in the position to do it again.

The 41-year-old said his emotions were very similar after Jack and Polly were born.

"I was scared and nervous, but I was happy and proud at the same time. The most interesting thing was their personality," said Windsor, who has been practicing law for 13 years.

The lawyer said he went from playing tea party with Grace to alligators and Power Rangers with Jack.

He also said one of his biggest blessings is being father to his children.

"Once they place them in your arms, the feeling that comes over you is amazing. They are an extension of your DNA and you will do anything for them," said Windsor. "You will work twice as hard to provide for them and make sure they are taken care of and have food on the table."

Harville and Windsor both agree that fatherhood is one of their biggest accomplishments and the kids are there for them just as much.

"They are always happy to see you. It doesn't matter if you had a stressful day at work. You go home to your kids they make you smile," said Windsor, who is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Corinth.

Harville feels the same.

"They make me happy. I have someone who loves me unconditionally just as much as I love them," said the member of Oakland Baptist Church.

An Iuka man has shared similar experiences to both Windsor and Harville and recalls when his children were just as small.

"Time flies by quick," said Phillip Pritchard, who has four adult children and two grandchildren. "My kids are all grown and my baby is leaving me in the fall for college. My wife and I will become empty nesters."

Pritchard and his wife, Kathy, were high school sweethearts and have been married for 19 years. Together, they have two sons, 28-year-old Tyler and 18-year-old Braxton.

Pritchard has two older children, 31-year-old Phillip and 30-year-old Porsha.

His youngest son, Braxton, graduated from Tishomingo County High School in May and will attend Northeast Mississippi Community College to play basketball.

Pritchard and his sons have always been athletic. He said some of his best experiences were going to watch his kids compete in tournaments and play in the ball games.

"They always look up in the stands to see if their mom and I were watching them. This made me feel so proud," said the 52-year-old.

Pritchard said he has always been active in his children's lives and made sure were taken care of.

He said he misses taking them to movies, the park and just spending quality time.

He also recalls a time when his son, Braxton showed his skills on the court.

"His team was playing against Itawamba in the district tournament. Braxton just came out of his shell and scored nine three-pointers," said Pritchard. "His team won the game and went to the playoffs. I was in the stands just jumping and yelling "" 'that's my boy. That's my son.'"

He said he and his children have made a lot of memories over the years, but he wants people to appreciate their kids while they are small.

"Memories are priceless and you need to spend as much time with them while their little because once they are grown, thats's it. They will always remember that," said Pritchard, who works for Northrop Grumman.

Even though Pritchard's children are grown, he still maintains a close relationship with them.

"I plan on attending all of my sons basketball games. I hope he looks for me in the stands like he did when he was in high school," said the proud parent, who is a member of Jones Chapel Methodist Church.

Father's Day is a time for children to cherish their fathers and for men to celebrate being a dad.

Harville, Windsor and Pritchard come from different walks of life, but they all share one thing in common "" the love they have for their children.

"My dad was always there and supported me. I try to be the same way with my kids," said Windsor.

Harville agrees.

"A person never knows how much they can love a tiny human until they have one of their own," he said.