Congratulations to Tony Bickel on being selected as the FUAN November 2019 Advocate of the Month.
Families United Action Network chose Tony due to his efforts in the Wisconsin area with Wisconsin Fathers for Children and Families – WFCF. He has shown both local and national leadership within the Family Law Reform Movement.
In 1997 Tony's 14-year marriage ended. He has two daughters that were 9 and 11 years old then. He secured 43% custody of his daughters. At that time, Tony was unaware of fathers' rights groups. Thanks to the internet, he was able to immediately determine his rights and exercise them without the assistance of an attorney.
Tony and his ex-wife both agreed on shared placement, so there was no difficulty there. Becoming the primary caregiver 43% of the time was a massive change for him, but one that he embraced wholeheartedly right from the start.
The impact of that Shared parenting situation was absolutely beneficial to both Tony and his daughters.
By 1999, Tony became aware of many fathers who did not enjoy the relationship and time with their children that he had with his. Tony had to fight at times to have his rights enforced. At the same time, he became aware of other fathers' plights that were much worse than his.
As a result, Tony joined WFCF (Wisconsin Fathers for Children and Families), and later became an active member to help other fathers. He started attending board meetings in 2002/2003 and was an active participant and volunteer during the WFCF Rally in 2004.
In 2014 he joined the WFCF board as treasurer and currently still fills that role. During 2014, he was able to convert its database to a more current software package and now maintains the organization's central database. As a database administrator, Tony sends out all electronic communications for the group, including the reminders/invites for their ten current Fathers Night Out meetings.
He has been WFCF President since 2016, as well as their Email Helpline responder to hundreds of requests each year.
In 2017 WFCF started adding lobbying to their activities. They have had hundreds of meetings with legislators since then. The group helps educate their Wisconsin legislators on the benefits of Shared Parenting for children. WFCF promotes many legislative updates to make kids' lives better, despite having separated parents.
Over a year ago, Tony became aware of Nick Dreeszen and FUAN and all of the legislative work their FUAN group was doing in Iowa to help separated families. FUAN shared a wealth of information with Tony. With FUANs help, WFCF was able to become much more effective legislatively in WI.
There is a lot of well documented adverse effects on children with only one involved parent. Tony is passionate about doing everything possible to help all children enjoy the benefits of two parents in their lives.
WFCF was able to provide support for some of FUAN activities and outreach efforts. Nick and Tony continue to talk and share information, and he believes that benefits both FUAN and WFCF immensely. The sharing strengthens both groups, so they can better help separated families with children, in both WI and Iowa.
Tony is currently happily married to Vicki since 2011. He added a 13-year old step-daughter to his family (he adopted her in 2018), joining his other daughters who are now 31 and 33 years old.
After 30 plus years working for an analytical instrument manufacturer, Tony is now semi-retired in and currently works as a consultant for his company, but is still active in creating and pushing for legislative changes in Family Law.
Congratulations once more to Tony Bickel, FUANs November 2019 Advocate of the Month. You continue to make a difference in the lives of families.
Being a parent has been, without a doubt, my greatest source of achievement, pride, and inspiration.A Favorite Quote of Tony's by Naveen Jaim
Parenthood has taught me about unconditional love, reinforced the importance of giving back, and taught me how to be a better person.
Do you know of someone who is working to make a difference by trying to reform family law? Contact FUAN to let us know who they are, what they're doing, and why. They could be honored as the next FUAN Advocate of the Month and inducted to The FUAN Advocate Hall of Fame.