The Father’s Day Council Tucson has chosen a Desert Lightning Team member as a 2014 Tucson Father of the Year.
Capt. Joshua Palochak, 41st Electronic Combat Squadron senior mission crew commander, is one of six Tucson fathers who will be honored during an awards gala June 13. Each honoree will be recognized for mastering the balancing act of career, fatherhood and civic involvement.
Palochak was nominated and notified of his selection by Lt. Col. Daniel Hendrix, 41 ECS commander.
“It’s all about prioritizing your time and choosing what to focus on,” said Palochak. “You have to know when things are really important. When you’re juggling so many balls, you have to know when to drop a few.”
He credits his wife, Ashley, as his “hero” who helps him prioritize and keep it all together, while his faith triggers his commitment to serve the community.
He and Ashley have two sons, Gavin, 3, and Logan, 2. In December of 2012, they opened up their home to a foster child and welcomed her sister the month after.
Being raised by his single mother, Judy Palochak, Palochak didn’t have a father, son relationship growing up. He said that he used Judy’s mothering as a foothold to learn to be the father he never had.
When he deployed last summer, Palochak took every possible measure to alleviate the impact of his absence. Using video chat software, he was able to keep in touch with his family and mentor his foster children from thousands of miles away.
“Regardless of the number of challenges before him, Capt. Palochak continues to be a model father, husband, officer and community leader,” said Hendrix. “Even though his service to his country takes him away from his family, he consistently challenges himself to devote his time to them and give back to his community.”
Although Palochak supports the community throughout the year with numerous events, he is best known for the holiday season.
During the month of December, Palochak and his family transform their home into a holiday display featuring more than 50,000 lights synchronized to music and collect toys for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundations. Over the past four years, the Palochak family devotes an average 500 hours making the show happen and collects hundreds of toys each year.
Having already earned a Bachelor of Occupational Education and Technology degree and a Master of Business Administration degree, Palochak continues to further his academic excellence off duty and is expected to finish his Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership later this year.
Additionally, Palochak was chosen to leverage his knowledge to help improve the Air Force enlisted and officer rating system through a multi-command sponsored study and improvement project.
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” Palochak said. “It’s a very humbling experience and I’m thankful for it.”