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Local Dad Trades Basketball for Baby Bottles

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FUQUAY-VARINA — Ask any child who their hero is and you might hear Michael Jordan's name a few times. Batman and the Power Rangers might even make the list. But once in a while, you will hear a child put Dad at the top of the hero list.

A father in Fuquay-Varina may have earned that title from his daughter by choosing family over career.

Paul Russell gets the best seat in the house at N.C. State Basketball games at the scorer's table. It Is a part time job he kept going after he quit his full time job a few months ago.

"I was athletic director for the Fuquay-Varina Athletic Association," says Paul. "We ran all the youth sports in the town of Fuquay."

Paul's new day job began shortly after he and his wife Dorsey added Savannah to their family.

After maternity leave, mom returned to work at a Raleigh mortgage company. The child care issue wasn't settled right away.

"We did have a nanny. It was great for the few months that we had the nanny," says Dorsey.

"We just sat down and talked about it and thought it was important for one parent to stay home," says Paul. "And it just happened to be me."

"It really had to be Paul in that I make more money," says Dorsey. "He's a natural, much more of a natural than I am I think."

"It is easy," says Paul of his role as "Mr. Mom." "I mean, it's not extremely hard. It's fun. That's what makes it extremely easy, I believe."

But leaving her daughter everyday is hard for Dorsey.

"It is hard everyday that I get up and have to leave her to go to work. It takes a certain kind of person, man or woman, to stay home with the child -- even more so for the macho male sort of thing," says Dorsey.

Paul set aside his macho athletic background and picked up bottles, diapers and a silver spoon. The Russell's say it's all in Savannah's best interest.

"There's more one on one interaction, I guess, than if she were somewhere else with more kids involved. I guess that is the main thing," says Paul.

Savannah's parents say their daughter is getting the same values they both grew up with.

"Once mom walks in the door she knows her mom's home. I mean, there's no doubt about that," says Paul.

The Russell's make a special effort to keep the mother-daughter bond strong.

"We do have this lunch meeting once or twice a week which is nice,' says Dorsey. "I get to see her during the day."

Dorsey says the greatest plus for Savannah is the special bond she has with her Dad.

"There's something special of a father-daughter bond. She gets starry-eyed every time she sees her daddy. He'll definitely be a hero for her," says Dorsey.

The Russell's hope to have more children. Paul says he plans to stay home for all their children until they reach school age.