For the media

He wears many hats but ‘dad hat’ is his favorite

By The Health News Team | June 14, 2024
Joseph and Cortez Armstrong of San Diego wearing Fatherhood Hats

Joseph Armstrong's son, Cortez, is the inspiration behind his brand, Fatherhood Hats.

Every Friday morning, Joseph Armstrong, an access services representative at Sharp HealthCare, posts a picture of his son, Cortez, on Instagram. The accompanying message is always the same: “MY MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION FRIDAY.”

To say that Cortez is Armstrong’s motivation and inspiration is an understatement. In fact, Armstrong will be the first to tell you that becoming a father literally saved his life.

“There was a time where I completely lost my sense of purpose,” Armstrong says. “I had given up on life. I experienced great loss, and I didn’t always know how to cope.”

However, it was when Armstrong learned he was going to become a father that everything changed. “Almost immediately, I found a light inside myself,” he says. “I started living for my son and knew I would do anything for him to feel loved and supported forever.”

Joseph and Cortez Armstrong of San Diego

Joseph Armstrong shows support to his son, Cortez, at a baseball game years ago and continues to be his biggest supporter today.

To the best of his ability

Fourteen years later, Armstrong is riding the highs and lows of raising a teenager, and he continues to hail Cortez as his greatest motivation and inspiration. An avid ball player for the Spring Valley Little League, Cortez recently went through the highs — and lows — that come with end-of-season championship games — games that Armstrong wouldn’t have missed for the world.

“He really wants to make the All-Stars team,” Armstrong says. “And it’s hard. Because as his dad, this is something completely out of my control. I feel like this is a lot of what fatherhood is about: knowing that their lives are not in your control, but making sure they know you have their back — no matter what happens.”

Spoiler alert: Cortez did make the All-Stars team. And while Armstrong credits his son's success to his hard work and dedication, those around this father-son duo know Armstrong had a big part to play.

“A good father is someone who offers love, support and understanding,” Armstrong says. “If I give these three things to the best of my ability, I have done my job.”

Inspiring Fatherhood, the brand

Fatherhood had such a significant impact on Armstrong that he decided to spread the message far and wide, starting his own hat company called Fatherhood Hats. The colors are bright, the font is bold, and his mission is clear and beautiful. “I hope to shine a positive light on fatherhood and honor all the righteous fathers and father figures out there,” he says.

Since 2020, Armstrong has watched his business grow, supported by his family, his friends, his community and of course, his coworkers at Sharp. He feels honored every time a “Sharpie” buys or wears his “merch,” and his business was showcased last year at a Sharp HealthCare Juneteenth celebration, where employees could enter a raffle to win a hat.

“Watching people embrace my brand has meant so much to me,” Armstrong says. “Whether they’re supporting my personal journey or are showing a sense of pride for their own, I love that something so important to me is important to others, too.”

Joseph Armstrong selling Fatherhood Hats in San Diego

Fatherhood Hats has grown into an inspirational business, both for Joseph Armstrong and those who support his brand.

This Father’s Day, Armstrong is in the dark about what is planned. “I don’t make the plans.” he says. “I just show up!”

But he’s quick to add that to him, every day is Father’s Day. “My son is a blessing. I will never take fatherhood for granted, and I make sure he knows it,” Armstrong says.

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