By Gabrielle Fimbres –
Master Sgt. Lorenzo A. Livingston held on tightly to his wife and son as he received what could be the most meaningful honor of his life.
“Out of all of the things I could be honored for, being a husband and a dad is most important to me,” said Livingston, upon hearing the news that he was selected as the 2015 Father’s Day Council Tucson Military Father of the Year.
BizTucson publisher Steve Rosenberg, who brought the Father’s Day Council to Tucson in 1994 with his father, the late Howard Rosenberg, made the surprise announcement to Livingston at what the airman thought was a training session at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
At his side were his wife of three years, Chanelle Livingston, and their 2½-year-old son, Roman.
Livingston, an Airman Leadership School instructor at D-M, serves as a model of excellence in fatherhood, work ethic and volunteerism, said his wife, who nominated him for the award.
“Lorenzo’s calm, patient and persistent spirit sets the superb example for our children and others of how to lead a family and community through servant leadership,” she wrote in her nomination.
Livingston, whose firstborn son, Syncere, 8, spends part of the year in Chicago, is dedicated to tucking his kids in bed at night whenever possible.
“I didn’t always put family first, especially when it came to my career,” Livingston said. “In recent years, I realized the proper order – God, family, career. Family is the backbone.”
Originally from North Myrtle Beach, S.C., Livingston was raised by his grandparents. He enlisted in the Air Force in 2002, three months after high school graduation.
Livingston has completed deployments in Iraq, Qatar and Afghanistan. He earned the Joint Commendation Medal, three Air Force Commendation Medals, two Air Force Achievement Medals, an Army Achievement Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal, to name a few.
While balancing family, work and volunteerism, Livingston, a civil engineer electrician, has completed two associate’s degrees, a bachelor’s in sociology and he is working toward a master’s degree in leadership.
In his seven years in Tucson, Livingston has served as a devoted volunteer. He volunteers with Arizona Adopt-A-Highway, organizing monthly cleanups of the stretch of Golf Links Road between Swan and Craycroft roads, earning a visit and recognition from Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.
He has been instrumental in the leadership of D-M’s Airmen Against Drunk Driving, helping to organize 496 volunteer drivers who provided 557 safe rides home for Tucson drivers.
Livingston has served as a volunteer mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson and Pima County Juvenile Court Center.
His passion for reading led him to create Leaders are Readers, a leadership book club for service members and their spouses.
On the job, he has served as a mentor to 1,500 as an instructor.
“I want to leave a footprint on the installation and the community,” Livingston said. “I found my niche in life. I want to empower young people to give them a good start in life.”
Balancing family, work, school and volunteerism requires time management.
“Being a military father is tough, especially when it comes to preparing for promotional exams,” Chanelle said in her nomination. “When our youngest was only a newborn, it was testing season for Lorenzo. Lorenzo read his study materials to him in an effort to study while still spending quality time with him. I never can forget the way that reading military history lulled Roman right to sleep.”
The Livingstons were childhood friends, and reconnected when Chanelle moved to Tucson. The two make home the priority.
“Even with our strenuous full-time work schedules, Lorenzo emphasizes that family time must be our top priority,” she wrote. “He instituted family dinners each night, where we could converse with the kids and discuss the day’s events. Next, we have playtime on the floor, which is their favorite location to wrestle and bond. Lorenzo always take the lead when it comes to bath time, pajamas and a bedtime story.”
Livingston said those are his favorite times of the day. He looks forward to the family’s upcoming move with the Air Force to Japan, where they will be joined by Syncere for two years. Livingston keeps in touch with his older son daily through phone calls, FaceTime and social media.
“It feels awesome to be recognized as a top father in the city and on base because that is my priority,” Livingston said. “There is nothing more important.”