In commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), the Liberian Institute for “Growing” Patriotism (LGIP) has honored and awarded nine (9) prominent women with the Judge Emma Shannon Walser’s Medal for Rule of Law, Good Governance and Patriotism.
The recipients of medals of Patriotism for the living includes, Madam Joyce Kumbah Raynes Ogunti, founder and CEO of Alfred and Collinette Raynes Everybody Served Community Clinic (ACRES) in Millsburg, Dr. Chris Hena, founder of Medina Medical Centre in Kakata, Margibi County, Rose Mendscole Sherman, CEO of Each One Teach One, Amelia Ward, former and first woman Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs and MARWOPNET Activist, Trypetus Padmore (popularly known as ‘RL’), founder of Heritage Learning Centre-Camp Johnson Road.
Others include: Madam Brenda Brewer Moore, promoting the culture of reading and establishment of Reading Rooms throughout the country, and Rev. Mother Oretha During, praying mother for the nation.
Madam Theresa Leigh Sherman, one of the signatories to the 2003 Accra Peace Agreement and Musu K. Thompson, first woman Governor of the Traditional Council of Liberia, were each awarded the medal of Governance and Rule of Law, respectively.
LIGP was established on July 27, 2021, to recognize great Liberians who are diligently serving their country and pay tribute to the memory of Liberians who have contributed to nation building and the development of Liberia.
The LIGP was launched under the auspices of the Angie Brooks International Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security at the AME University on December 12, 2013, by the chair of the Board of Tax Appeals, Ambassador Charles A. Minor, on behalf of Liberia’s first female judge, Her Honor, Judge Emma Shannon Walser.
Madam Joyce Kumba Ogunti, founder of ACRES (right) and Dr. Hena, founder of Medina Medical Centre in Kakata
Held on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) Graduate School on Camp Johnson Road, the award ceremony was attended and graced by several individuals including Senator Conmany B. Wesseh, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, who gave their perspectives on the significance of the late Judge Emma Shannon Walser’s role in Liberia’s Democracy and Judiciary.
Giving the background and purpose of the event, Ms. Olubanke King-Akerele, Founder and Executive Director of LIGP, told the honorees that the overriding consideration for the establishment of the medal is the need to give recognition to women and others who are contributing to “Nation-building” through patriotism in one form or another.
Madam Akerele, who spoke prior to the presentation of the medal said “this is to encourage the “Growing” of patriotism amongst Liberians as there is a tendency amongst our people to be unappreciative and show little recognition of those who have contributed and are contributing to Nation-building — especially to what, at the bottom line, is nothing short of the renewal of the soul of “Mama” Liberia.
According to her, their individual works and achievements speak to this while Sister Mary Laurene’s brief on “Growing” patriotism captures the essence of what is meant by “Growing” (development and promotion) of patriotism.
Mae-Gene Best, co-founder of the Daily Observer newspaper, who proudly presented the medal of Patriotism to Rev. Mother Oretha T. During, described the honoree as a genuine spiritual mother and humanitarian in Liberia.
She said Mother During is a woman who sincerely loves her country deeply and cares about it.
Showering praises on Mother During, Mrs. Best told the gathering that the honoree is a very powerful prayer woman who is always there seeking the intervention of God’s blessing on Liberia.
“So I am proud to present this award to you, Mother During, because you are an exemplary patriotic citizen of the Republic of Liberia,” she said.
Earlier, Madam Joyce Kumbah Raynes Ogunti, founder of ACRES in Millsburg, rural Montserrado County, who also received the Judge Emma Shannon Walser’s medal of Patriotism, lauded the executive director and Board Chair of the LIGP for recognizing her efforts.
She said as a free-outpatient facility, her medical facility serves all, from triage to medication, having just served over 87,000 patients since opening its doors to locals in that area eight years ago.
Madam Ogunti used the occasion to thank ACRES staff, her husband, Mr. Varkpah Zeegar Holman, Morgan Park Pentecostal Church, USA, John H. Stoger Jr., Hospital of Cook County, family of University of Chicago Hospitals, family and friends for the level of support given to her for the award.
The establishment of the medical facility, she said, was in fulfillment of her parent’s request that, should she make it in life, to not never forget to help the people in Millsburg.
“Fellow honorees, for and on behalf of the sheroes, Madam Suakoko, Lango Lippaye, Susannah Lewis, Angie Brooks Randolph and the many quiet movers and shakers without whom most of us would not be here, I proudly accept this award in honor of Liberia’s first woman judge, Emma Shannon Walser,” she said.
According to her, when she was informed that her name was presented by Sister Mary Laurene Browne, her mentor, she felt especially honored to be recognized in society as someone who is providing free medical care for people in Millsburg.
Madam Ogunti, a registered Emergency Room Nurse at one of America’s biggest hospitals, vowed as living recipients of the Judge Emma Shannon Walser award, to always visit Liberia at least once in a year to help in her area of expertise.
Meanwhile, other honorees included Dr. Chris Hena, who used the occasion to thank the organizers for the honor bestowed upon them while they are still alive.