Tim Roy had no idea that he was thwarting his family’s plans.
“He wanted to eat at Casa Ole,” said Blair Granger, Roy’s oldest daughter. “They’re having a sale on fajitas.”
Fortunately, Roy’s wife, Lisa, and their younger daughter, Brooke Villafano, were able to convice him to have his Wednesday lunch at Larry’s French Market and Cajun Restaurant, 3701 Pure Atlantic Road, Groves.
But the battle still wasn’t over. Roy — oblivious to his family and friends waiting in a banquet room at the back — wanted to sit at a table near the front of the restaurant.
“My wife put her hand on my back and pushed me over here,” Roy said. “Then I said, ‘Ah, something’s wrong.’”
By the time he realized something was amiss, the Groves Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Center had presented Roy, 56, with the 2013 Father of the Year award.
An emotional Roy admitted that his family had pulled one over on him. Because his wife was named the 2012 Mother of the Year in Groves, he didn’t anticipate that this year’s Father of the Year plaque would bear his name.
“I wondered why Brooke was swaying me here,” Roy said. “I wasn’t expecting this at all.”
With Father’s Day on the horizon, Roy’s daughters thought the award would express their gratitude to their father in a way they never could.
“After awhile, there’s not a card or a gift that says enough,” said Granger, 31. “This is as close as we can come to thanking him.”
Granger and Villafano each read letters they had written nominating their father. Villafano, 29, described Roy as “a hardworking father, faithful husband and family man who can cook.”
“Even people who have never met him know about his legendary gumbo,” wrote Villafano, who lives in Beaumont. “I don’t think he knows how to make anything that serves less than 20.”
Granger, who drove from her home in Spring for the event, said that her father’s full-time job at Total — where he has spent the past 37 years — never prevented him from attending his daughters’ school programs, dance recitals and performances at Port Neches-Groves High School football games.
“Because it seemed impossible for one man to do so much, it often seemed as if Dad had a body double,” Granger wrote.
Board member Christa Hollier said that the sincerity of those letters gave Roy the edge over the other nominees.
“There are a lot of deserving dads, but their letters are just so heartfelt,” Hollier said. “You feel like you know Tim when you read them.”