The honor came from Congressman Bobby Rush. He lost his own son to gun violence nearly 10 years ago. The men came together Sunday in hopes that other men don't have to spend Father's Day grieving.
"It's going to always be tougher," Holt said. "If he had been here, we would probably be at my mom's house in the backyard barbecuing our favorite food."
Just days after a second teen pleaded guilty to the murder of his son, Ron Holt spent Sunday reconnecting with other families on Chicago's South Side. The Father-of-the-Year honor came as a surprise from Rush, who shares a similar loss.
"He [son] had been killed by a gun. That's just not your problem. It's our problem," Rush said to those assembled.
Rush and Holt, two neighbors who became friends and allies in adversity, said they hoped to exalt the power and privilege of fatherhood and take back the neighborhoods from the violence that plagues them.
"There's plenty of fathers like me out there in the trenches, and I see a lot of them here right here today," Holt said.
Ron Holt and his wife say they will continue to speak out against the gun violence that claimed their son's life.
Following the celebration of fatherhood, a choir performed Sunday evening. A choral concert by the Hope and Healing Community Choir of Englewood honored the role of fathers in young people's lives.
The event took place at the DuSable Museum of African-American history, and ABC7's Evelyn Holmes led the ceremony.
The Hope and Healing Choir was formed three years ago at an urban summit organized by Congressman Bobby Rush.