CALLAWAY, Fla. (WMBB)– A surprise parade honored the Circuit 14 Foster Parent of the Year, Karl Fleming, on Wednesday.
Fleming learned he received the honor last week, but the parade was a shock to him.
“It was crazy I didn’t expect it at all,” Fleming said.
Callaway Firefighters, Callaway Police Officers, Bay County Sheriff’s Deputies, Mayor Pamn Henderson, Callaway Chick-fil-A staff and fellow foster parents all participated in the parade.
Fleming has only been a licensed foster parent for one year, but he has already fostered 15 children.
“After the hurricane I wanted to foster because I wanted to give the kids a home because there was such a demand for it,” Fleming said.
He said the children he has cared for have changed his life for the better.
“It’s made my life so much more rich,” Fleming said.
Foster Family Support Program Director, Cathy Harcus, said all of their foster parents are great, but Fleming went above and beyond this year.
“Karl has been through the ringer his first year of fostering, he had his car totaled by a teenager he didn’t flinch, he welcomed the teenager back in his home,” Harcus said.
Fleming is currently fostering three boys, one of which he took in during the pandemic.
“Imagine saying oh let me welcome a stranger into the pandemic I don’t know what they’ve been exposed to and that’s what he did,” Harcus said.
There will soon be even more foster parents caring for children, just as Fleming does in the Panhandle. The foster program finished its first virtual Quality Parent Control Training Class on Tuesday night.