Being in the Flint area for all but five years of my life, I've become very familiar with Mid-Michigan and all it has to offer. It's unique, bursting with character, and loaded with great stories to share. Long before I was writing articles for and, my dad, David J. Fenech, was writing articles for The Argus Press and The Flint Journal.

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From dramatic, topical and polarizing pieces like the article he wrote after interviewing Dr. Jack Kevorkian, to comical columns including how to save energy by cooking on your car's engine, my dad is an incredible wordsmith. He's won award after award and many of his works have been published regionally, nationally, and even globally. Not only does he have a way with words on paper, he is one of the best public speakers I have ever seen.

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His parents were Maltese, from the small island nation of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. My Nannu (Maltese for grandfather) came to America in the early 1950s and sent for my Nanna (grandmother) and uncle once he was settled as an engineer in the automobile industry. My dad was the first American-born Fenech in our family. Nanna didn't know how to speak English, but she taught herself by watching TV, primarily soap operas.

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It was the strong family bond in my dad's upbringing that trickled down in to my upbringing. That's the same feeling of unconditional love, friendship, togetherness I'm trying to instill in my kids. That and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter! My dad's jokes aren't just cheesy, they're a well-aged stinky kind of cheesy, and I wouldn't have it any other way. His quick wit is tough to match, even for me!

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My dad was forced to retire early after he was almost killed by a drunk driver in December of 2008. Now dealing with a brain injury that makes everyday life a challenge, he can still find the humor in just about anything. We're lucky that this gem of a man is still around, because he fills any room he enters with a warm, welcoming feeling of kindness and friendship, and I still have a lot to learn from him. I've been told by countless people that he's "the nicest man on Earth!"

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Since the accident, my parents moved to Florida where they no longer have to deal with snow, and my dad can relax outside and decompress all year long. I don't get to see him nearly as much as I'd like to, but that just makes it more special when we do get to spend time with each other.

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It was 60 years ago today that this world became a better place. And even now, as it seems like things couldn't get worse, we can all take comfort in the fact that there are wonderfully kind, and amazing people like my dad in the world... truly making it a better place. I'm incredibly lucky to have this guardian angel as my father. Happy Birthday there, Dadly! I love you!