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10/10/97 Father honoree begins days with prayer, Bible reading

TAMPA, Fla. (BP)–Paul Wells stretches for the 110-percent mark in life, whether in his role as law enforcement officer, computer science teacher, water skiing enthusiast or family man. It’s this enthusiasm and commitment that earned him the distinction as one of Florida’s 1997 “Outstanding Fathers of the Year.”
Wells, who goes to Seminole Heights Baptist Church in Tampa, was one of three recipients of the award, given by the Florida legislature’s Commission on Responsible Fatherhood, which legislators formed last year to promote examples of responsible fatherhood. Wells was chosen from among 70 nominees for the honor.
Wells’ wife of more than 20 years, Carol, nominated him for the award. Both previously married, they met as neighbors when Paul befriended Carol’s two young children. The couple have three adult children, the youngest starting college this fall.
Carol said it’s Paul’s Christian spirit that makes him a good husband and father.
“He doesn’t begin a day without praying and without reading the Bible,” she said. “Every year he reads the Bible cover to cover. But more than that, he lives, walks and talks what he believes.”
Paul and Carol Wells know the pain of losing a child. A 5-year-old son, Aaron, died from meningitis in 1987.
Subsequently, they have worked to promote awareness and research of hib (haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccines to combat the bacterial disease that inflames the lining of the brain.
Paul “did not let the disappointment, pain and loss keep him down,” Carol said. “He worked for something positive. The saying, ‘let go and let God’ … he lives that principle. He lets go and lets God take care of things.”
Both Paul and Carol have careers in law enforcement. She is a supervisor with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. He has been a probation officer for 15 years.
He has received numerous law enforcement honors, including recognition from the Department of Corrections, the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency and Who’s Who in the Southeast.
His involvement in law enforcement and his commitment to the well-being of young people have led him to work for tougher restrictions on sex offenders on probation. He wrote two bills that became state law in 1995 and 1997. The laws prohibit sex offenders from living adjacent to where children congregate, and standardize sex offender probationary requirements.
“He is helping a world at risk,” Carol said. “He’s a hard worker and so tenacious. He won’t negotiate on his principles. He gets the job done and makes a difference.”
Wells, who has a master’s degree in computer science, also works part-time as a computer science teacher at Hillsborough Community College.
“Despite working a great deal, I always, always find time for my kids,” Wells said. “I also strive to be a good example for them. You can be an example in the little things you do.
“I include the kids in my interests and I get involved in their interests. I think it’s important to show an interest in whatever your children are doing because that tells them you are investing in their lives,” he said.
Wells loves to water ski, and when the children were growing up, he often took them with him on outings. In turn, the family often included boating in his birthday celebrations.
Wells regularly attended his children’s school events, such as ball games and concerts, often equipped with a video camera to capture the moments. He also spoke to his children’s classes about law enforcement.
Wells said being a good example for his children not only has meant taking them to church, but also showing them how to live as a Christian.
“A good, responsible father is, number one, dedicated to serving the Lord, who gives the best example of fatherhood,” he said. “Being a Christian isn’t something you only do on Sunday. It’s something you strive for at all times.”

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  • Kristi Hodge