FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A Fort Wayne man has been named his workplace’s Citizen of the Year.
Darrin Bieszke has worked at the Post Office in Fort Wayne for 18 years as a mechanic.
“Last day I worked the most days I’ve ever worked in my life, the most hours I’ve ever worked here,” Bieszke said.
But when he’s off the clock, his work isn’t over. Darrin and his wife of 25 years, Jean, have eight children. Three of their own and five that have been adopted. All the while, bringing more children into their home as foster parents.
“It’s been about 10 years. We’ve had 12 foster children in our house,” Bieszke said. “We’ve adopted five of those 12 in three different cases.”
With a full house getting everyone to school can be a full-time job of its own. At one time they had five foster children who went to school in a different county, which meant long commutes. Bieszke said he even took time off to make sure everyone got to where they needed to be.
“It took about an hour and a half total every morning and every afternoon to go drop the kids off and then come all the way back home and six or seven hours later get in the car and do it all over again at about 140 miles round-trip,” Bieszke said.
Darrin and his wife are always putting in the extra effort for their children who had a tough start in life, like their now 18-year-old daughter, Brooklyn. Brooklyn came to them when she was just eight after being abandoned and suffering severe trauma. Now, she’s earned a full scholarship to college.
“It’s so different from the first half of my life, but it’s been amazing,” Brooklyn said about her life. “They are amazing. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Bieszke said watching Brooklyn excel has been a joyful experience.
“If I don’t get anything else out of fostering,” Bieszke said. “That is just amazing.”
As amazing as Darrin thinks his kids are, it’s no comparison to just how amazing they think this citizen of the year is.
“He’s there whenever we need him and he’s the best dad ever,” Brooklyn said.
Bieszke said he will retire once all his children are out of school. The youngest is six years old.