Support our mission
 
Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Tranchitello helps his son Mason, 3, pick out a glove. His wife Heather and their children nominated him for the Fort Bliss Father’s Day contest. They shopped at Academy Sports + Outdoors store Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Tranchitello helps his son Mason, 3, pick out a glove. His wife Heather and their children nominated him for the Fort Bliss Father’s Day contest. They shopped at Academy Sports + Outdoors store Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Maria Cortes Gonzalez, El Paso Times/TNS)

EL PASO, Texas (Tribune News Service) — Two soldiers from Fort Bliss walked into the Academy Sports + Outdoors store on the West Side on Tuesday afternoon and found out they had each won $1,000 shopping sprees for being great dads.

The gift cards were awarded by the sporting goods store at 801 S. Mesa Hills Drive in a partnership with the Fort Bliss Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division. The division invited children to write about why their dads deserved recognition as part of a Father's Day contest.

Perhaps typical of their cool and responsible nature, the two dads — Staff Sgt. Eddie Hernandez and Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Tanchitello — fist pumped when they got the gift cards and then proceeded to shop for their kids and their families.

"I'll probably get some socks. You always need socks in the Army," Hernandez said as he started to push his shopping cart toward the shoe section with his two sons, Jayden, 12, and Julian, 8.

Jayden is the son who nominated his dad for the honor.

"I wanted to show how he is such a good dad. When I was going through a time of "am I a little too overweight" — I was going through that stage — he helped me. He worked out with me," he said.

Marlo Brestar, left, and Michele Wiernicki, far right, both from the Fort Bliss Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division, and Academy Sports + Outdoor store employee Jacob Arellano rewarded the two winning military dads, Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Tranchitello and Staff Sgt. Eddie Hernandez, with $1,000 gift cards.
Marlo Brestar, left, and Michele Wiernicki, far right, both from the Fort Bliss Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division, and Academy Sports + Outdoor store employee Jacob Arellano rewarded the two winning military dads, Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Tranchitello and Staff Sgt. Eddie Hernandez, with $1,000 gift cards. (Maria Cortes Gonzalez, El Paso Times/TNS)
Staff Sgt. Eddie Hernandez used his $1,000 gift card to buy his boys tennis shoes at Academy Sports + Outdoors store Tuesday.
Staff Sgt. Eddie Hernandez used his $1,000 gift card to buy his boys tennis shoes at Academy Sports + Outdoors store Tuesday. (Maria Cortes Gonzalez, El Paso Times/TNS)

Initially, the dads and their families were told it was going to be $500. But the store doubled it to $1,000 each. The amount didn't faze the dads, but caused a surprising reaction in Jayden.

"When I learned it was going to be $1,000, I thought, 'Oh great, we are going to be here forever,'" he quipped.

Hernandez ended up buying each boy a pair of tennis shoes and, sure enough, grabbed a $9.99 package of no-show socks.

Meanwhile, Tanchitello followed his wife Heather and three of their kids as they chose toys, including sports balls and swim goggles for the summer.

"It feels pretty good," Tanchitello said of being nominated by his wife and kids.

"Always, more can be done, but it's recognition that I'm doing something a little bit right; (it) is definitely very appreciated," he said.

Tanchitello said he strives to be involved with the kids, in their sporting events and schoolwork, and showing them right from wrong.

"Just being there is very rewarding," he said.

His wife Heather said she wanted to honor him because they are a blended family with eight kids and he has been a great role model taking care of all the children.

Tanchitello said he probably would look for a shirt for himself but his focus also was getting the kids something to enjoy.

"It's less money I have to spend on toys," he said.

(c)2021 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)

Visit the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas) at www.elpasotimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up