A reason to celebrate “Father’s Day”

Father went over cliff to help girl

Mike Lopez – here’s a heartfelt salute and best wishes for your safe return from Iraq. Good job, man – it’s always a nice change of pace when the press tells a positive story and doesn’t choke when the words “Army” and “Iraq” are included.

Michelle lost control of her mountain bike and disappeared over the edge of a cliff called “North Point” and into dense woods that hid a steep drop-off.

“She tried to tell me, ‘No, Dad,’ ” he said. “I just jumped for it. I cleared a tree, and then reality broke in.”

Reality sent him down the slope in pinball fashion. He said he grabbed onto small trees in hopes of stopping his fall, but instead, the limbs snapped and went with him. He tried to dig his fingernails into the cool forest soil to slow his pace, but that proved futile, too.

The trip down the slope “seemed like two seconds,” he said. Before he knew it, he said, he had made it to his daughter without suffering any injuries, except for scrapes and cuts.

When asked what she thinks of her father and what he did, Michelle choked up.

“I love my daddy very much,” she said, tears streaming down her face. “And sometimes, I get mad at myself to see all the scratches I had to give him.”

But Lopez dismisses his daughter’s “superhero” label, focusing instead on the fact that Michelle should come home today — just in time for Father’s Day.

“I’m not at all a hero,” he said. “I think I just did what any loving parent would have done for their child.”