SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — WTAX news director Dave Dahl is notorious in the capitol for his unique questions to lawmakers, but he’s also famous by association for being the one-man entourage to his son Clifford.

“Everyone wants their little piece of Clifford,” Dahl said. “He belongs to everybody. And even before we knew he was sick, he has been larger than life.”

The Champaign native was recognized as the first Outstanding Illinois Father during an award ceremony from the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood earlier this month. The council recognized Dahl for creating the best life for both of his sons no matter what.

Dahl’s older son, Clifford, has a rare neurological disease called Batten Disease. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, Batten Disease affects 14,000 people around the world.

25 year-old Clifford has lost his vision due to Batten Disease. His health has gotten worse after contracting COVID-19. But Dave and his wife Corrina have stayed by Clifford’s side.

“A lot of times, when you have a situation like this, it’s very easy for a person to get bogged down in their grief over the situation, and either decide, you know, I can’t deal with this, or just mentally check out even if they’re there,” Corrina said. “That has not happened. He has been there 100%.”

Dahl’s younger son, Isaac, has gone to support groups for people who have a sibling with Batten Disease.

“We’ll talk about how feelings of feeling neglected… in the sense of, here’s a child that needs a lot of attention and here’s a child that doesn’t need that level of attention,” Isaac said. “So they’d feel neglected, and I don’t think my parents have ever made me feel left out. They’ve never made me feel like I was the other one.”

“I think [Isaac and Clifford] are closer than most siblings,” Dahl said. “These guys are each other’s best friend, each other’s favorite person.”

Dahl is often covering events in Springfield and the statehouse. This has lead to Clifford meeting several high-profile Illinois politicians in the state capitol, who have seen first-hand Dahl’s love for his son.

“I’m so happy for Dave,” Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) said. “I think it’s it’s certainly a great honor for him and really is indicative of what dad he is and the family that he has I’ve known.”

“Dave Dahl is not only a great journalist but a tremendous father,” Governor J.B. Pritzker said on Twitter. “Much deserved congratulations to him!”

Clifford is also a giant baseball fan and has met several players on his favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals. But Clifford is not the only one who enjoys the meet-and-greets.

“It’s clearly made an impact on some of the players who, you know, really want to hang around him and learn about his disease,” Dahl said. “So that’s kind of touching.”