US Army Sergeant First Class Retired Gregory Williams has been awarded the March 2017 Most Valuable Father Award Winner from the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida, announced Holly Zwerling, President and CEO.
Williams, now a police officer with the Miami-Dade County Schools Police Department and presently assigned at North Miami Senior High as the School’s Resource Officer, has based his entire career on service. During his twenty-four year military career, his assignments across the United States and in Germany, Turkey, France, Iran, Iraq, Panama, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan afforded him the opportunity to be an ambassador for his country and state. Immersing himself in diverse cultures and customs made a strong impact on how he viewed humanity, family and the importance of fatherhood. “I saw that Fathers were the structural paradigm of the family. This phenomenon was indicative in every culture I observed around the globe. People innately need structure,” stated Williams.
“SFC Retired Williams’ character, stellar career, dedication to children, being a leader in his community and his commitment to the values set forth by The Fatherhood Task Force made him a clear choice to receive this honor,” stated Zwerling.
Born prematurely in Miami, Florida in 1962, Williams was taken home to live with his maternal grandmother. Not having a traditional home with mother and father present and never knowing much about his father, it was late in his elementary school years that he began to live with his mother. His adolescent years were comprised of a blended family of half-brothers, stepbrothers and stepsisters.
Now a Father of a blended family himself with two sons and two daughters from different relationships, Williams has made a steadfast commitment to positively impact their lives. His children are now all adults, yet he believes the values of hard work and knowing nothing in life worth having comes easy that he imparted helped shaped their success.
“I’ve always felt my responsibilities as a Father and role model shouldn’t be confined to my private household. I see the school and community as part of my greater ‘household.’ It’s fundamental to me to be an active father and carry my values and beliefs throughout all my households in life. Men should see fatherhood as an ever evolving life-long relationship. Father and child are in a perpetual cycle of loving and learning. Living at a distance can sometimes become a barrier to fatherhood if you allow it,” stated Williams.
“As I’ve learned after being away from my children, the key to finding success is for fathers to not allow distance to weaken their relationships, but set standards for engagement and live up to them instead. One of the greatest lessons a child should learn at an early age is, ‘I’m important and valued.’ I as a Father fostered this message to my own children,” he continued.
Williams participates in the Fatherhood Task Force’s Fatherhood Reading Squad Program because he’s watched communities perish socially and economically from the lack of literacy and paternal involvement. “Now, I go into schools and read to students because I want to be a role model and demonstrate that literacy is important. When I am with the students, I feel as though I’m feeding nourishment directly to their arteries, giving them new life … and hope. Literacy is a staple for survival,” continued Williams.
Williams has a finely tuned philosophy about being a father. “Fathers must realize a small child desires love, attention and direction. An adult child desires freedom, love, attention and direction. Children of every age need a Father. Being a Father never grows old.”
“I think we must somehow educate Fathers on the importance of this engagement and, as a community, must give them the tools needed to feel confident in their role.” Williams continued, “Although female engagement is important, Fathers must begin to tear down the social barriers which do not give men and women equal priority in engaging our children. The components of child rearing are multifaceted. Men need to step up and feel confident with engagement as a Father and as a role model in their family and community.”
About the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida (www.ftfsf.org):
An advocacy organization with national influence, the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida’s mission is to facilitate the involvement of Fathers in children’s lives by developing and promoting programs for fathers, grandfathers, uncles and male mentors/role models related to all stages of parenthood. Their Fatherhood Reading Squad trains and prepares Fathers from all walks of life to go into classrooms to read, tell stories and mentor students Pre-K- 3rd grades.
The criteria for the Most Valuable Father Award are for fathers and male role models to be involved in their children’s lives; support, nurture, interact in their education and activities and be a role model for positive values by guiding and supporting them physically, socially and emotionally. Website:www.ftfsf.org
Contact: Holly Zwerling, LMFT, LCSW, Founder, President & CEO, Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida (Holly@fatherhoodtfsf.org), 305.812.4000