During a hot Tuesday afternoon, a man is watching a movie and playing with his two children in a Centennial Hills home. His wife is away at work, and he enjoys his time talking, playing and laughing, childlike himself.
As Alex Drossulis sips water from a tiny pink cup, poured by his 2-year-old daughter Kaelyn, it is hard to picture him in his other non-fatherly roles, which include being an E-6 Staff Sergeant for the Army National Guard, a full-time emergency technician and administrative coordinator at Centennial Hills Hospital and a student at the College of Southern Nevada pursuing a nursing degree.
“My kids are so much fun,” said the 28-year-old father, holding a pink teddy bear in his arms. “Playing with them and goofing off — that’s half the fun of being a dad.”
Alex’s wife, Amanda, 28, said her husband’s willingness to have fun with his children is one of the things that sets him apart from other fathers — he’s responsible but also fun-loving.
“Even though he has always made sure we are taken care of and that there is food on the table for the kids, he has also always made sure that the kids are enjoying their time and have a fun life,” she said.
Being both responsible and fun can be challenging sometimes for Alex, as his commitments with the National Guard, school and work keep him constantly busy.
“With everything that he does, he definitely has a lot on his plate,” Amanda said. “But he is very focused and determined to make the best for himself and the best for his family.”
Inspired by his father, Alex has made his family a top priority in life. Everything he does is for them, he said.
“My dad passed away two years ago, but he was always a major influence in my life,” he said. “To him, everything was about family, and that’s something I continually try to live up to.”
Alex remembers his father’s favorite movie, “Rocky,” and credits it with giving him the inspiration to “roll with the punches to keep on going” and “no matter how often life punches you down, you have to keep getting back up.”
Such inspiration has allowed him, and his wife, to overcome obstacles and make the best of life.
At age 22, the couple had their first child, Ethan, who suffers from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, an intractable form of epilepsy caused by brain damage from birth. Ethan had seizures starting from when he was two days old, which have resulted in developmental delays. As parts of his brain are non-functional, Ethan remains nonverbal at 6 years old.
“At the beginning, it was rough, but he stayed strong and really embraced it right from the get-go,” Amanda said about her husband dealing with their child’s disability. “Sometimes it’s tough taking care of Ethan, but Alex has taken an active role in making sure that Ethan not only is cared for, but also making sure that he is taken to treatments and has proper therapy.”
Alex’s caring nature not only extends to his family but also to his work obligations. According to him, one of the most rewarding things about participating with the National Guard is being there for soldiers and being a teacher and mentor to them.
“He is such a caring dad, but he is like that with everybody, even with his soldiers,” said Staff Sgt. Tara Pushkin with the Army National Guard. “He will go out of his way to help them. He always gives his best and never complains.”
Alex’s father-like caring nature toward soldiers has turned him into a great leader. His kindness makes people want to do what he asks them because they know he would do the same for them, Pushkin said.
“I call him my hero,” said Kris Brandenburg, who works with Alex as an emergency technician at Centennial Hills Hospital. “No matter what, he is always there to help and willing to go the extra mile. He does it for his family; he does it for his coworkers; he does it at the National Guard. He is just amazing.”
Alex said he doesn’t know how he finds time for everything but continues to do so for the betterment of his family.
“My kids are my first priority in life,” he said. “Everything I do, and everything I am as a person is for my family.”
His efforts are commended by his family.
“I admire everything he does as a husband and a dad,” Amanda said. “I love him and couldn’t imagine our life without him. He makes us whole.”
Contact reporter Maria Agreda at email@example.com. Follor her on Twitter @mjfagre.