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Joe Vargas


Men’s Legal Center Honors Great Dad Recipient Joe Vargas

Craig Candelore of the Men’s Legal Center presenting Joe Vargas with Great Dad Award

Craig Candelore of the Men’s Legal Center presenting Joe Vargas with Great Dad Award

Men’s Legal Center looks for fathers who stand out above the crowd, and go above and beyond to exemplify positive fatherly traits not necessarily just to their children but others around them.  Now the Men’s Legal Center is proud to honor Joe Vargas for being such an exemplary father.

About Joe Vargas

Joe Vargas working with 2012 USA Boxing National Champion Raquel Miller (left) and U.S. 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Marlen Esparza (right)

Joe Vargas working with 2012 USA Boxing National Champion Raquel Miller (left) and U.S. 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Marlen Esparza (right)

He has raised 4 successful children and been a father figure to countless others.

Joe Vargas has been a member of the National City community for over 35 years. Joe’s family has a long history with boxing and he began learning the sport at a very young age. He had a true passion for the sport of boxing. Joe fought on a professional level alongside many world renowned names. During his early 20’s he was in construction, but his love of boxing and mentoring others about boxing always called to him. In 1999 he became a full time boxing trainer and manager. Since 2001, Joe has also worked with Community Youth Athletic Center (CYA), “providing San Diego’s at-risk youth with a constructive alternative to self-defeating behavior through an athletic, academic and community service program.” He currently works out of The Arena in San Diego training the boxing teams as well as Olympic contenders. The boxing world is an extended family for Joe treating many of his boxing trainees as his children.

Becoming a Great Dad

Joe Vargas with Jose Vargas, Lorena Romero and Anthony Rodriguez

Joe Vargas with Jose Vargas, Lorena Romero and Anthony Rodriguez

Joe became a father during his teenage years when his son, Jose Gabriel Vargas was born. Though he was younger than one wish’s to be when they become a parent for the first time, he has always felt blessed. As often occurs with young couple Joe did not end up with Jose’s mother but that never deterred him from playing a role in his son’s life. He worked out a shared custody agreement and worked to maintain a civil relationship with his son’s mother.  He admits that this is never an easy task and takes conscious work.  There were times when his son would display personality characteristics of his “ex”

Joe Vargas with wife of 16 years, Lorena Romero

Joe Vargas with wife of 16 years, Lorena Romero

that were different from his own. He often had to remind himself that Jose was a composite of both parents and he must respect what Jose’s mother did while still instilling his first born with the values he believed to be essential. He is proud to have raised an honorable man who also has a sense of duty. Jose Gabriel Vargas,20, currently serves in the United States Army.

After having his first son, when he was 19 years old he met his now wife, Lorena Romero. They have been married now going on16 years. At the time he met Lorena she was taking care of her cousin Anthony Rodriguez. Joe being a very family oriented man fell in love with Anthony and decided with Lorena to raise him like their own. Joe considers Anthony to be his son.

Joe has always felt that to be a father is a privilege, one that he has always been honored to have the title of. Whether the child was biologically his or not that was not the defining characteristic to him. Being a father is about taking a consistent presence in a child’s life guided them to their right path while providing them with love and values to live by.

Joe and Lorena later had two additional children to complete their happy family. They have a 16 year old son Cisco Vargas who is an Honors student and a 9 year old daughter Joanna Vargas who is a Gate student.

Joe Vargas on family vacation with wife Lorena, son Cisco, and daughter Joanna

Joe Vargas on family vacation with wife Lorena, son Cisco, and daughter Joanna

Joe could not be happier to have his four children, they are his world. While his days are long, occasionally starting before the sun rises and ending well after the sun goes down, he still makes time to be there for his children. This includes anything dropping them off for the school, picking them up, helping with homework, being at their cheerleading competitions and sporting events. He loves his job but lives by his motto that dads need to be there for their children.

Men’s Legal Center asked Joe Vargas about being a father.

Joe Vargas and Son Cisco

Joe Vargas and Son Cisco

MLC: What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a father?

JV:  The most rewarding thing for me as a father is watching my children grow. The happiness I receive from seeing the values I worked to instill in them shine through is immeasurable. Their humility and willingness to helping others is an honor to see.

MLC: When has being a father been hardest? How did you handle it?

JV: The hardest part of being a father has been staying true to my values and the way I believe I should father, especially when it comes to

Joe with daughter Joanna

Joe with daughter Joanna

disciplining my children. Often times others want to tell you how to parent, but I never caved. I had faith that how I raised my children was the right path. I’ve always aimed to be a father and not my children’s friend. My children will have so many friends in their life they don’t need me for that, they need me for guidance, discipline, structure and values.

8MLC: Many people, often your fighters, look to you as a pseudo father figure or mentor, what advice do you give them when they become fathers?

JV: What I tell them depends on the status of their relationship. If the person is married or still in a relationship with the mother then I tell them: Treat the mother of your child right, because if she is happy your whole life will be happy. The children see and feel the happiness. A good relationship with your significant other will allow your children to see what a healthy relationship is and learn from that.

If they are not in a relationship with the mother, then I tell them: Be a strong parent, make time to be there for your child as much as possible. Don’t argue with the mother and try to be as civil as possible because you will have to deal with her for a long time. Most importantly, be open-minded. Your child will have traits and habits from the mother of the child and you may not like it but you have to understand that each parent brings something different to the table.