Father’s loss fills Father’s Day with painful memories

CLEARWATER — For daughters growing up without a dad, Father’s Day can be full of conflicting emotions. Even for those who grow up fatherless his influence is a major one, prominent for his absence.

Tambree graduatesIt has been feared that growing up in a fatherless household could have a greater impact on daughters than on sons. It is therefore only natural that the murder of Marco Waters is an event that holds incredible and often very painful significance for his daughter Tambree Waters and her three younger sisters.

For years our community has contemplated on the impact that absent fathers has played in the role of the family and in the lives of young black men. Usually our conversations on an absent father revolve around his sons – how boys benefit from having a positive male role model, a consistent disciplinarian, and a high-energy roughhousing parent to provide guidance while they are on their way to pursuing careers and success in manhood.

However, recent research shows, fathers also affect the lives of their young adult daughters in intriguing and occasionally surprising ways. It is that uniqueness, as well as the short and long term effects of losing a father, that has influenced Waters eldest daughter Tambree’s decision to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Tambree is a senior in Pinellas Park High School’s Magnet Program; her decision to attend the Criminal Justice Academy was influenced largely by the violent death of her father. His case has gone unsolved for 14 years and is a cold case with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

“When you’re a girl without a dad, it hurts.” “My younger sisters and brothers don’t remember much about my dad because they were so young when he was taken from us – but the experiences from his lost affects each of us and it is with us every day”, said Tambree.

Tambree has hopes of making a difference in the lives of other victim survivors through a career in the criminal justice system and law enforcement field.

Marco Waters Campaign, vigil, TambreeNext week she will be participating in a ride along with one of Pinellas County Sheriff’s Patrol Officers. The ride along, coordinated by the Springtime Club, is a part of Water’s Cold Case Campaign that the Club has launched in cooperation with the sheriff’s office to profile Water’s case, challenge those with information to come forward, and foster hope and healing for Water’s six children and his family.

This year the Springtime Club decided to focus on the accomplishments of their youngest victim survivors – the children. Despite the long term effects of their father’s death Marco’s first born, his son Jasiree, and eldest daughter Tambree are setting great examples for their four younger siblings and are excelling in ways that would make any father proud.

Jasiree graduated this year from Tarpon Springs High School and is an alumnus of the High School Magnet Program – the Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy. He will be attending college in the Fall to earn a degree in the Culinary Arts. Next year, Tambree will be graduating from Pinellas Park High School’s Criminal Justice Academy and is leaning towards a degree in forensic science.

Springtime Club’s Board Member Olivia DeBarros shared “these children have amazing stories of trail and triumph”. “We are so proud of what they have accomplished and we are honored to play this small part in their journeys”, she added.

Marco Waters was murdered at 9:55 a.m. on the evening of February 26, 2001. He was robbed by two men while sitting outside his sister’s, Takethia Barthell, apartment in High Point. During the struggle Marco was shot and killed. Both suspects were described as black males in their late teens to early 20s at the time of the crime.

“We are hopeful that this campaign, conducted in partnership with the Springtime Club, will raise awareness on the Marco Waters murder case. By prompting a community dialogue, we encourage neighbors to come forward with any information they may have, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to help us bring closure to the Waters’ children and other family members,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

The Springtime Club will be hosting a Candlelight Vigil during Father’s Day weekend on Friday evening, June 19 at High Point Neighborhood Family Center, 5812 150th Avenue North, Clearwater, from 7-9 p.m.

The Springtime Club is encouraging participation for this Hope Towards Healing Candlelight Vigil from the community at large and is anticipating a strong turnout from the families and friends that grew up with Marco in the close-knit neighborhood of Condon Gardens at the time of his death.

Please join us in solidarity with the embrace of community to collectively send light and love to the friends and family of Marco Waters. For additional information about the Marco Waters Campaign or the Springtime Club’s Cold Case Initiative contact Yolanda Cowart at ycowart@springtimeclub.org.

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