The hierarchy of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) has presented checks to family members of soldiers who died while on active duty.
The ceremony, which took place recently at the Barclay Training Center (BTC), the home of the Army, brought together 20 beneficiaries to receive their government ‘gratuity’ checks. The amount, in US dollars, on each check was written based on the length of time each deceased soldier served in the army.
Beneficiaries of the late soldiers who received their ‘cash’ benefits included widows and next of kin (NOK).
Prior to the presentation ceremony, AFL Chief of Personnel Major Daniel Holman told the beneficiaries that the amounts represented monies the military hierarchy had set aside from the salary of each soldier for unforeseen circumstances.
“Today, you will receive that amount based on the length of time your sons, husbands and loved ones stayed in the army. Nearly all of you may not receive big amounts as everyone in this present Army has not stayed more than 10 years. But we just want to say that the AFL appreciates what your husbands, brothers and sons did for the Army and their country,” Maj. Holman told the beneficiaries.
AFL Command Sergeant Major Cooper Manqueh told the NOKs that the Army was giving the little tokens, “because of the valuable services their husbands, sons and brothers rendered their nation.”
“We are sorry for the loss of your sons, brothers and husbands. The amounts cannot bring back life, but we just want to say that this nation appreciates the sacrifices your loved ones made for the Army and Liberia,” he added.
Deputy Chief of Staff of the AFL Brigadier General Prince C. Johnson III added his voice to previous speakers by also thanking the beneficiaries for their loved ones’ services to the Army and the nation.
“We cannot pay for their lives. We all came as volunteers into the Army. They served well. This is life. The One who gives is the same who takes away. On behalf of the President and Commander-In-Chief (CIC) of the AFL, the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff, Major General Daniel Zainkahn, we have come to appreciate the commitment from our fallen heroes and heroines, which remained irreplaceable,” B/Gen. Johnson said.
“What you are going to receive cannot replace your deceased loved ones, but just to show that we appreciate the services of your husbands, sons and daughters while serving the military.”
He expressed the hope that some of the children of the fallen heroes and heroines will follow their footsteps and join the Army.
Noticeable among the beneficiaries was Mrs. Leona Dennis, widow of the late Deputy Chief of Staff, Colonel Eric W. Dennis, who passed away in his 48th year on August 8, 2016, from “respiratory congestion” at the Duside Hospital in Firestone, where he was seeking medical treatment following a period of illness.
“On behalf of all the beneficiaries, I want to say a very big thank you to the senior authority of the AFL. For some of us today is a goodbye after we get our benefits. However, this is not a goodbye for me. As my family has always been with the Army, I will always be around the AFL,” Mrs. Dennis said.
She was especially full of praises for Maj/Gen. Ziankahn for what she said was his personal support to her family when her husband died.