Foster father saves lives of two troubled teenagers
HE MAY not have an official award for Queensland Father of the Year, but after saving and changing the lives of two troubled teens he is one special dad in the Western Downs region.
Keith Bruggemann is the foster father of Skye Thomas and her sister.
And if it wasn't for Keith, Skye wouldn't be the woman she is today.
He's done many incredible things for the two young women, however what stands out most for the her was the heart-warming story of what happened when she was a teenager.
"When I was 16, I tried to take my own life because I genuinely believed no one cared about me," Ms Thomas said.
"Afterwards when I was back home, he hugged me and spoke to me.
"I could genuinely see the hurt in his eyes and voice and I knew that I really did matter to him.
"He showed me his genuine love for a daughter who wasn't biologically his."
Mr Bruggemann is known for his big, kind and caring heart and it's evident in Ms Thomas's life that he would do whatever it took despite the cost, to show his foster daughter he loved and cared for her.
"He's an incredibly selfless man who has given me so much of his time, love and care," she said.
"He's a beautiful human being with a soft gentle heart, always going out of his way for others.
"One time, he drove his wife two hours after a busy day working, to be with me in hospital after I was flown out for a medical emergency."
Mr Bruggemann has been married for more than 30 years and as the two girls' foster parents, he and his wife have shown what a successful marriage is and how to work well as a team.
Not having her biological dad around to do things with, it meant a lot to Skye and her sister that he put up his hand to take them in and raise them as his own.
"Dad taught me how to drive and he taught me a little bit about cars," Ms Thomas said.
"Just having him around and being able to talk to him about the things that are going on in my life was really great.
"I did have to put up with his silly dad jokes like a normal daughter would though."
Ms Thomas now has four children of her own, one who is three months, the others who are two, four and five years old.
"Dad taught me different values and morals that all dads should teach their children, which I have now taught my own children," Ms Thomas said.
"It's makes me feel really happy and really glad my kids have someone like him in their lives as well.
"They do really love him and spend time with him at least once a month."
Ms Thomas said she is honoured to have him as her father.