Johnny Doc preps for Papa Father's Day race

John J. Dougherty, business manager of IBEW Local 98, holds his racing number Sunday at 10th annual Gary Papa Father's Day Run. STEPHANIE FARR / daily news STAFF
John J. Dougherty, business manager of IBEW Local 98, holds his racing number Sunday at 10th annual Gary Papa Father's Day Run. STEPHANIE FARR / daily news STAFF
Posted: June 19, 2012

Chillin' Wit' is a regular feature of the Daily News spotlighting a name in the news away from the job.

JOHNNY DOC is waiting for a challenge.

"It's up in the air," he says. "If anyone challenges me to run, I'll run."

John J. Dougherty, the business manager for Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, isn't talking about running for political office — not on this day, anyway. It's Sunday, and he's talking about actually running in the Gary Papa Father's Day Run to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

Dougherty, the co-chairman of the 10th annual run, gets his racing number — 98, of course — but no one challenges him, so he skips the run and spends his time making sure the event runs smoothly, shaking hands with participants, posing for pictures and taking jabs about his sunglasses in stride.

The shades — Oakleys with clear frames and reflective powder-blue lenses — are hard to miss, and slightly intimidating, since you see yourself when looking in his eyes.

"I wear them every year and I get teased every time," Dougherty says. "But they go with the white hair."

Dougherty, a father of two, has spent every Father's Day for the past 10 years volunteering at the run. Even though he was out until 2 a.m. checking on his guys working the Kenny Chesney concert Saturday night, he was at the steps of the Art Museum at 6 a.m. with his men prepping for the race.

"We set up the trash cans, the tents; we set up everything except for the water in the fountain," he says.

Dougherty says his own father, who already has had "half his organs in his body taken out," was just diagnosed with "this insidious disease" — prostate cancer — and is being closely monitored.

"I don't know one man on Earth who's lived as much as my dad or lived as wild as my dad," he says. "We celebrate Father's Day every day."  

— Stephanie Farr

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