Ballantyne woman named co-chair of upcoming awards

Ballantyne resident Peggy Leo-Gallo will join Weddington’s Tom Hughes as co-chair of this year’s Father of the Year Awards, hosted by the American Diabetes Association.

The annual event, now in its 14th year, raises funds to support diabetes research and people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Organizers hope to raise $380,000 leading up to this year’s event, which will be held June 20, a Friday, at the Westin in Charlotte. Fathers from the Charlotte region collect donations prior to the gala, which are then used to help more than 170,000 diabetes patients in the area.

“We honor successful business people who are also finding the time to be great fathers, because we all know in the business world sometimes to have success you have sacrifices, and a lot of times it is the people who are supporting you” who you sacrifice time with, Leo-Gallo said. “We want to honor that, to show people that you can do both. We also are honoring fathers who can reach out and are civic to reach out to the community and help us fundraise to get help for the American Diabetes Association.”

Leo-Gallo and her husband both have family members diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and they want to do what they can to help their two young children stay healthy as they grow up. Leo-Gallo also wants to make sure people are aware of the warning signs of diabetes.

“There are a number of people living with Type 2 diabetes who don’t even know they’re living with it,” she said.

This year’s fathers are Jesse Cureton, of Novant Health; Ladd Hall, of Nucor Corporation; Quail Hollow resident Dee O’Dell, of US Bancorp; SouthPark resident Kevin Lilly, of SPX Corporation in Ballantyne; and Bob Norris, of Wishart Norris Henninger & Pittman.

Last year’s Father of the Year winners were Ballantyne resident Mark Copeland, of Ernst & Young; Rob Engel, of Wells Fargo Securities; SouthPark resident Jim Kelligrew, of U.S. Bancorp; and Mark Pringle, of Siemens Energy. They are just part of the 68 fathers who have raised more than $4 million for diabetes research in the Charlotte area during the course of the program.

“In the early days … it took a couple years to get started up and identify fathers,” said Pat Higgins, spokesperson for the local American Diabetes Association office. “Now we have no trouble finding great dads. … They have to be great dads, No. 1, and they have to be committed to fundraising.”

Local Fathers of the Year go on to compete in the national Fathers of the Year competition, and five dads will be featured in the USA Today newspaper.

Find more information on the event and cause by calling the American Diabetes Association’s local office at 704-373-9111 or going to Donations for candidates for Father of the Year also can be made at the website.


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