WAUCONDA – Patrick Yost is a proud father of two.
His daughter, Margaret, is 5, going on 6. And his son, James, is 15. No, wait. He’s 16.
“I keep wanting to repress that because he just started driving,” Yost said.
But the deputy chief of the Wauconda Police Department has been there for far more children than just his own two. He’s helped out kids throughout all of Lake County.
Yost, of Wauconda, has been involved with Special Olympics, Boy Scouts, Police Explorers, and the Lake County Juvenile Police Officers Association.
“I’ve always wanted to set a good example for my kids,” Yost said. “And I hope that they carry on that tradition just like I know I did with the example from my parents.”
Yost has been helping to organize the fundraising for Special Olympics for about six years.
“That’s very rewarding, helping them,” Yost said. “Illinois is one of the highest-grossing areas in the world for Special Olympics fundraising, and that’s kind of neat that we’ve helped that goal get where it is.”
And he’s a past president of the Juvenile Police Officers Association, which he said keeps officers up to date with the latest information on how they can help kids who are in trouble or who have committed crime or are a victim of a crime.
“You just have to know how to approach those types of situation,” Yost said. “We’ve been successful in getting a lot of training to Lake County police officers.”
But, maybe most importantly, he’s setting a good example for his own children so that one day they might serve their communities well, too.
““I try to set the example that once you start something, you just can’t quit,” Yost said. “You have to take it through as far as you can. And that it’s OK to admit that you might not know everything. And, occasionally, it’s OK to admit defeat, as long as you’ve given it your best effort.”
Being a dad isn’t just about good examples, though. It’s also about just being a father and the wonders of watching your children grow up. Yost remembers the vacation his family took last summer.
“We were all out fishing and [Margaret] got to reel in a fish and it was just the excitement and the amazement,” Yost said. “It was just something neat to watch.”
It was a little perch, not quite big enough to hold on to, but she was patient and got her fish.
“She was just so excited,” Yost said. “And probably the funniest part of that whole thing was her brother didn’t catch anything.”
Yost’s son might not have caught a fish that day, but he certainly has caught the acting bug from his pop. He recently was in Wauconda High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
“In high school, that was my big thing, too,” Yost said. “It was kind of neat that he chose that without any prompting.”
And he’s proud of the initiative his son took.
“He was always trying to look for something to do,” Yost said, “and he tried a lot of different things and settled on that because he said he really enjoys doing it, and I know I did too. It’s a great way to meet people and a pretty good way of staying out of trouble.”
While setting an example or just hanging out with his kids, Yost certainly is happy that he will be one of the honored this Father’s Day.
“I think it’s one of the most challenging, but also one of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever attempted,” Yost said. “Hopefully, it will continue to be that way.”