At the request of our children, I am assisting them in the nomination of their father, Bill Needles. Bill not only embodies the extraordinary characteristics that drive Texas Fathers to Excellence, but he demonstrates them on a daily basis.
Bill, started with the Austin/Travis County EMS in 1981. Since that time, Bill has worked as a Life Flight paramedic, water rescue paramedic, supervisor, trainer and eventually returned to his true joy being a paramedic in the field. He is now one of only a handful of paramedics that has worked continuously for 24 years for Austin/Travis County EMS. Bill puts his life on the line daily and because of that, thousands of people in Texas have had their own lives saved. There have also been 14 children born in Texas and Ohio, because Bill was there to assist in their arrival, including 2 sets of twins and 1 set of triplets! If you ask any of his friends or coworkers to describe Bill with one word, loyalty, would be the first word to come from their lips.
Bill is truly one-of-a-kind. He lives his life for his children. Bill is an “Ozzie and Harriet” kid. He grew up with no worries in a secure home and he wants his children to experience that same thing. Spending their days having fun playing games, and running through the yard catching fireflies. I’m not sure who enjoys the holidays more, Bill or the kids. One of his favorite lines when asked, “When are you going to grow up?”, is ….. “I hope I never do”. At Christmas, his eyes light up when we open up the old boxes of decorations. He re-tells each story of every ornament as he hangs it on the tree. On the 4th of July, Bill rekindles the kid in all of us parents in the neighborhood we all join in decorating bikes, homes and pets for our neighborhood parade. Of course, he leads the parade on his red riding mower!
Bill treats his children as individuals and spends not only time with all of us together, but specific time alone with each of them. When Emily (9 years) asked me to help her with this essay, she stated that what she loves most about her dad is that he spends “time” with her. He goes to her school a minimum of once a week to eat lunch with her, not easy with his schedule. When he has a day off, he arranges to have a father-daughter outing. Last Friday, it was a “Round Rock Express” game. She hasn’t stopped talking about it yet! Bill doesn’t just sit back and watch the kids play; he is right in there shooting hoops, swimming or throwing the football with them. He never misses an activity at school and saves every card, drawing or note that they write.
Tristan loves his dad and can’t wait until he is old enough to fly his own “radio controlled” airplanes and helicopters like him. Now that Tristan is 4 years old Bill takes him along to the flying field so that Tristan can watch all the aerobatics that he and the other men are able to perform. When we asked Tristan what he loved about Daddy, he said, “He reads to me and blows raspberries on my belly.”
The children know they never have to worry about losing his love. Although, Bill works 24 hour days, on the evenings that he is home we make sure that we sit down together for our last meal of the day. He treats them with the same respect he has for me, his wife. Bill listens to the kids’ feelings, their reactions and their opinions. In order to give them his full attention, he puts down his book, turns off the TV or stops working on the computer.
Bill is also a very gentle man. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is more in touch with his feelings and emotions than some women. Bill gets teased because of this, but he doesn’t mind. He would rather let the tears come when he hears Lee Greenwood sing, “Proud to be an American” than be known as a father that never cried. I also think a man that can cry demonstrates you can be strong and tender at the same time!
The children and I believe that all the qualities that Bill Needles personifies: Selfless, Loyalty, Consistency, Fun to be with, Patriotic, Respectful, and Tender, make him worthy of Introduction into the Native Texan® Hall of Fame. We hope you do too! Jo, Emily & Tristan Needles