Everyone in Andrew Stephens’ family agrees on one important fact: he is a good man.
“He is an incredible role model,” said his wife Alyson. “I can’t imagine a better example of how to be a man than Andrew.”
The father of two boys, Will, 13, and Joe, 11, Andrew balances working as a physical therapist and spending time with his kids doing activities like fishing, playing board games and finishing projects for their house addition.
“He works really hard and never seems to get tired of it,” Will said.
Andrew and his oldest love to play board games together like Monolopy – which Andrew usually wins. With Joe, he bonds over sports (the two enjoy sorting and organizing baseball cards) and going fishing on their boat.
“I see my dad smile when he catches a really big fish,” said Joe, who also likes it when his father makes waffles because he “fluffs the egg whites separately.”
Andrew always wanted to be a dad and had planned to have two children. He met Alyson, who grew on San Juan Island, on a blind date in February 2001. They had both recently graduated from college with degrees in physical therapy and hit it off instantly.
“I was very excited to meet somebody who was happy, beautiful and enjoyed living in the San Juan Islands,” Andrew recalls.
The couple married in 2002, and Alyson moved to Orcas, where it “felt like home.” The two immediately began trying to start a family.
“We both had really good island childhoods and wanted to recreate that,” Alyson said.
Andrew says the hardest part of being a parent is operating Orcas Island Physical Therapy (where Alyson works part-time) and still having enough time to play.
Every year, the family goes on vacation – their destinations have included Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Denali and the Grand Canyon – and in the summer they camp on Sucia Island.
The couple’s boys attend the public school, and play a variety of sports. Joe is also a member of 4-H and takes his animals to the San Juan County Fair every year.
Andrew doesn’t own a cell phone, and he tries to limit the boys’ screen time in their household.
“We have to talk to each other!” he said.
Adds Alyson: “We are lucky we work together. We are able to talk about the kids and schedules during the day.”
Both of Andrew’s and Alyson’s parents are a big part of their kids’ lives. He says of his dad Stu: “He’s a very hardworking and responsible man.”
Andrew says fatherhood is “a lot of responsibility and time and fun.”
“Driving home (from the hospital) with Will, I realized: ‘This is when defensive driving becomes really important,’” he laughed. “It’s amazingly rewarding when your kids are growing up and learning new things. I always knew that life goes quickly, but things are going so fast now that I just want to take a timeout and pause it.”