Shawn Clarke had big plans to celebrate Father’s Day in his usual special way with his dad Warwick Sargeant, on Sunday.
But after 80-year-old Sargeant lost his life tragically on Tuesday morning, Clarke and his brother Dr Dion Greenidge of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, are now putting plans in place to give the elderly man a fitting farewell.
Sargeant, a barber who has mentored and given many young men in his Yearwood Road, Black Rock, St Michael community free haircuts, was riding his bicycle along President Kennedy Drive, St Michael, at its Junction with 1st Avenue Thomas Gap, St Michael, around 7:40 a.m., when he was involved in an accident with a Toyota motor car driven by Dwayne Tull of Waterford, St Michael.
Both the motorcar and the cyclist were travelling in the same direction from Eagle Hall going toward Kensington Oval when the motorcar struck the bicycle. Sargeant was pronounced dead at the scene.
A few days after the reality sunk in that his father, whom he described as his hero has now left his side, Clarke told Barbados TODAY that while he accepted that everyone must die someday, the sight of his father’s body lying next to garbage was a memory he was struggling to forget.
Clarke recalled that it was his brother, Dion who contacted him and broke the news that their dad had passed.
“I was not expecting him to go in that manner. I left every single thing at the supermarket and I just rushed to the scene. I think one of the most difficult things I had to deal with in my adult life was seeing a man who had taken great pride in himself, who liked to dress up, who liked to smell sweet, lying next to garbage at the side of the road,” he said.
Sargeant was on his way to Bridgetown to pay bills and do his usual weekly shopping. This was a trip he would have taken for about 40 years.
“He took that same exact road to town and out of town for the past 40 years. He would do this every Monday morning. If the bank holiday falls on a Monday, he would go the Tuesday morning.
“He would leave home as early as 6:30 a.m., to 7 o’clock, because when 10 o’clock he wants to be either back home or at the barbershop working.
“So there are young people from that area who believed that he was actually from that area because they became so accustomed to seeing him passing there every week. He would pass and speak especially to the females,” Clarke said.
Clarke, who founded and heads Supreme Counselling for Personal Development said it was Sargeant’s kindness and generosity to many over the years, which inspired him to start the organisation, which allows him to mentor and counsel people, particularly the youth.
“I would have seen him giving of his time to people, and giving his last. Whether it was in sports because he would have played football for the Blackspurs club, or netball which he coached….he was involved in ballroom dancing, he was a community man.
“I would have seen parents walking into his barbershop and not being able to pay and he would just tell the child sit in the chair. Seeing that level of generosity in him, influenced me in a great way and helped me to decide what career I wanted to have. I wanted to dedicate my life to helping people,” Clarke said.
“He was a phenomenal father. I remember one day I was at the office and it was a pretty challenging day because almost every child that I saw, whether it was male or female, they spoke of an absentee father, ‘my father ain’t in my life, my father don’t talk to me’.
“As soon as I saw the last client, I went straight to my desk and I called my father and I said to him thanks. He said thanks for what and I said to him ‘thanks for being there’.
“Whether you share the same roof or not, it is important to have a father around. Up this day as an adult, whenever I had any major decisions to make, I would always consult with my father,” he said.
Clarke said to honour his father, who was strong and in relatively good health during his golden years, he was thinking about starting a scholarship to keep his legacy alive.
“I will discuss with my brother about having a Warwick Sargeant Memorial Fund to help some young child who wants to learn a skill that I know dad would have been interested in. His death has given me even more inspiration to work harder and to try to help even more people.”