Praising God for allowing him to reach his milestone 80th birthday
The impact that the generosity of veteran Liberian journalist, Kenneth Y. Best, has made in the lives of three young ladies has left indelible memories worth celebrating for years, even beyond his lifetime.
Mr. Best touched the lives of Florachel Ricks Addy, Lovette ‘Best’ Koiyan and Gloria Tewa Tamba in separate and distinctive ways.
The Daily Observer herein presents the fond memories of Mr. Best’s interactions with the young ladies, whose separate adventures in life have become stories of success.
Florachel Ricks Addy
A child picked up from her parents by Mr. Best on a humanitarian basis during the period of the first civil war, Florachel is now a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the United States of America. She is now the main bastion of support for her family.
In appreciation of Mr. Best’s ultimate sacrifices to educate, feed, shelter and advise her while living with him and family in the United States, she sent a heart-touching greeting card on the occasion marking the 80th birthday celebration of Mr. Best.
Her birthday greeting card, read by her mother, Rev. Edith N. Ricks, said: “Happy birthday Uncle Kenneth! I am so grateful to you for what a great impact you have had on my life! I have no idea how different my life would be today if you had not been so generous to take me out of Liberia during the civil war.”
Explaining in her own words, Edith Ricks, mother of Florachel, said she remembers all through her life, as she lives, a fateful day when Mr. Best visited her home on 24th Street, Sinkor, in 1989 and decided to take one of her children (that being Florachel) along with him to his home in The Gambia.
“I was sitting on the ground. I was cracking palm kernels to feed the children and to sell,” Mrs. Ricks said. “And you saw all these children around me and said to me ‘Edith, I’m going to take one of these children from around you’ and you took your God-child Florachel. Ken, that decision of yours almost 30 years ago has made all the difference in my family today.”
Florachel herself is no small cookie. From her grade school days she has been known for her academic brilliance. While in The Gambia, she completed a correspondence course in accounting right after high school and landed her first accounting job, at the Gambia Daily Observer. Together with her husband, Editus Addy, they are blessed with three kids in the USA.
In an emotional mood full of tears of joy Mother Ricks applauded Best for his courage and tenacity in not only helping her daughter lift her out of poverty but many others who he has not even known well but has chosen to help and is still helping.
“I thank you and your darling wife, Mae Gene. You became father and mother to my daughter. You personified the love of God in all you did for my daughter,” she said.
Mrs. Ricks added: “All those years you paid for her education. You fed her and clothed her. I cannot thank you enough. May God bless your generation yet unborn.”
In her birthday greeting card Florachel justified her mother’s appreciation to Mr. Best and his family, saying, “You enabled me to complete school on time and gave me my first real job, launching my Accounting career.”
“Would I be a successful CPA today if not for your kindness? For this, I am forever grateful to you and your family for the love you all have shown me over the years,” her card further noted.
Her card ended in these words: “I am so glad to be able to thank you in this public manner. Happy, Happy Birthday and may God continue to bless you with many more years. Love, Florachel.”
Lovetta ‘Best’ Koiyan
Another young lady who broke down in tears as she appreciated Mr. Best on his 80th natal day for all he has done for her and her daughter was Lovette Best Koiyan.
Koiyan narrated in tears her sad story of nearly losing her daughter, who she said drank caustic soda water a few years back but came through when KYB and his family accepted the critical challenge to intervene in her case.
“My daughter drank caustic water. I was confused and I did not know what to do but someone directed me to the Daily Observer and there I was fortunate to meet Mr. Best, who published a story in his paper for the first time explaining my daughter’s pain to the country and the world,” she said.
She said Mr. Best kept on encouraging her not to give up on her plea to the public for help for her daughter whose life was threatened by the caustic solution she drank mistakenly.
“Mr. Best told me, ‘don’t keep quiet, and keep coming.’ He encouraged me each time and gave me provisions for my daughter. He helped us throughout the process until later, seeing the need, he sent us to Ghana for surgery on my daughter,” Koiyan said.
She glorified God for allowing her to come in the presence of Best who never despised her.
“I just want to bless God for him. Other people call him God-sent, some call him savior, but I call him heaven-sent,” she said.
She said if it were not for Kenneth Y. Best, she could not have completed high school neither achieve some other professional training.
“I was in the 10th grade and I thought I couldn’t finish high school, but Mr. Best encouraged me and I am out of high school today. I have completed hair dressing school and I am now doing something for myself,” she pointed out.
She said her father was a Mandingo man who went missing in 1989 and has not been seen since then.
“I don’t know if my father is dead or alive but my joy today is that I have met my father. Mr. Best is that father whose name I have taken on and continue to use, even though not by his consent; I am married to a Koiyan,” she said.
Koiyan also praised Mr. Best’s wife, Mae Gene, who she described as “a true mother” with a heart full of love for people and that she is grateful to have come in touch with her as well.
Gloria T. Tamba
Gloria T. Tamba, a reporter at the Daily Observer, is one whose birthday coincides with Mr. Best’s.
Turning 25 years of age on October 28, 2018, while her boss KYB clocked 80, she said: “I am so happy that I have come to meet Mr. Best. KYB is a veteran journalist and working with him for the past six years means a lot to me. I have learned a lot and through his instrumentality I have been able to move forward,” Tamba said.
She said she has been able to improve in life, especially when it comes to the profession of journalism because Best has opened his doors and arms to her.
“I am happy to be here today to celebrate with him. He is my birthday mate so we are here to thank God together,” she said.
About what she did on the eve of her birthday which she shares with Best, Tamba said as part of the celebration she was able to share some food items with people in the disabled community, mainly the blind.
“Even though age is catching up with Mr. Best, I will continue to work with Bai, his son who is now the Managing Director of Daily Observer and other investments of the family in order to push forward the dream of serving the country,” she said.
She added: “The Daily Observer is the best independent newspaper in the Republic of Liberia and it is my wish and dream that Mr. Best’s name be seen as a golden star.”
Tamba revered her boss by naming him a leader who teaches people how to fish for their own good.
Tamba, among other things, has lately featured in two Liberian films, an added advantage to her journalism career, and has traveled to the United States and a few other African countries on media development programs.