Monday, March 21, 2005

Happy Birthday, Dad

My Father, Cullen Jackson "Jack" Waters, turns 62 today. He is an amazing man. He dedicated the largest portion of his life to the common good, actively serving with the Tampa Police Department on patrol.
During his time with TPD, he was promoted to Sergeant, and given command of a squad of patrolmen. While I was growing up, the cops who worked on my dad's squad told me that it was an honor to be on the squad, and that people competed to get to work for him.
Dad never sought a promotion above Sergeant, because Lieutenants and above sat a desk, and he wanted to be on the street, among the people he was helping.
Dad's desire to help the community resulted in him being given command of TPDs COP team. The COP team was charged with making communities safer by being active members of the community. Team members attended functions, rallies, and meetings with the people who lived in the areas they patrolled. The COP team made police in Tampa real people, and as a result, the civilians reported more crimes, and were more active in catching the perpertrators of those crimes.

Once family pressures caused Dad to retire(we had been bugging him for like 8 or 9 years), he took a non-sworn position with the TPD, as the head of the Reports and Information Unit. Since then, he has been promoted to be commander of the Crime Scene Unit. My dad is the head CSI!

Dad working on the boats for HHS Crew

Apart from his work, dad is really an amazing individual. He is the only man I know who can weld, build furniture, re-roof a house, work on cars, fix computers, steal cable, re-plumb a house(twice), re-wire a house, build train layouts, model tanks, and manages to read 5-10 books a week. Every day, I try to emulate him in some small way. I can do most of the same things he does, although I read slower, but he does them much better than I do.

I remember, once about 10 years ago, dad was working on something near the roof of his little covered patio(where his grill is), and he cut the back of his hand on a roofing nail protruding through the roof. He didn't even grunt. Just kept on working, till I kinda freaked out about his hand bleeding, and dripping on the floor. He told me not to worry, and that he was going to let it bleed, so it would be clean.

I think my dad may be one of the last remaining men in the world. He carries a gun, and knows how to use it. He doesn't back down from danger, and will do what is necessary if a bad guy tries to hurt someone he loves. He is pretty patient about the big things(not so much on little stuff, but hey, everyone needs a character trait), and will answer any question you ask to the best of his ability.

Building the new HHS Crew boathouse.

My dad is a generous man, and has passed that generosity along to his kids(even when we wanted to be selfish). He donates hundreds of hours a year to charitable organizations, primarily the Human Development Center, where adults with developmental disabilities are assisted in being members of society. He also donates a lot of time every year to the Hillsborough High Rowing Club(both of my sisters were team members). During crew season, he drives all over the state, dragging a huge trailer(like 15,000 pounds) full of boats behind him. Without his contributions, the club would not be able to race. His only reward for these actions is the good feelings he gets helping people.

More Boathouse work

Dad, we love you, more than you can possible know. Courtney and I are extremely proud to be your children. I cannot imagine a better Papa for my daughter, and I think you will fill out my Papa's name just fine.

I am proud of you, and I know that Papa is proud of you too.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

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