Over the weekend, the Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated presented awards to several individuals for their services to humanity at a well attended scholarship fundraising ball at the Paynesville Town Hall.
The event coincided with the fraternity’s 109th anniversary. It was founded in 1906 by seven distinguished gentlemen.
The awards were in four categories: Lifetime Achievement, National Service, Alpha Meritorious and Alpha Award of Honor.
The United States Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac received a National Service Award while the Publisher and Managing Director of the Daily Observer newspaper, Kenneth Y. Best was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award and Former president of Cuttington University, Dr. Henrique Tokpa, the Alpha Meritorious Award. Pioneer pharmacist, Clavenda Bright Parker and the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons of Liberia, James E. Pierre, Jr. also received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Alexander Brewer, the Alpha Award of Honor.
SN Brussels, the Belgian national airlines, was given the National Service Award “for standing with Liberia throughout the Ebola crisis.”
Alpha president T. Nelson Williams described Mr. Best as a gentleman that he has a lot of respect for because of what he has done in the field of journalism, not just in Liberia, but in The Gambia and the world over.
“He risked his life to report the truth to Liberians and to the world,” adding that the Lifetime Achievement Award was “in recognition of his exemplary work as a world renowned journalist, operating a successful business in Liberia and formerly in The Gambia and for putting his life at risk while reporting the truth.”
Presenting the award to Bai Best, who received the award on behalf of his father who is presently out of the country, Mr. Williams recalled that “a few years back I traveled to The Gambia and met a gentleman who told me that he only knew two people from Liberia and the two were Mr. Kenneth Y. Best because of journalism and George Weah because of football.”
He also spoke of the enormous contributions of Cllr. Pierre, a staunch member of the Pierre and Tweh Law Firm, to the legal profession in Liberia.
Dr. Tokpa, Williams said, “is a high-energy, results-oriented professional with many years of demonstrated achievements in development and management. Bro. Tokpa crossed the burning sands into the House of Alpha at Gamma Mu Lambda Chapter, Tallahassee, Florida.”
Tokpa currently serves as the Education Advisor of Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter. He is also a Life Member of the fraternity.
National Service Award went to outgoing United States Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, and Brussels Airlines while the Alpha Award of Honor went to Alexander Brewer, who is considered the historian of the Liberian chapter.
Brewer has served the fraternity for over fifty years, initially becoming its parliamentarian in 1964, the same year the current president of the Liberian chapter of the fraternity was born.
The Award of Honor is the highest given by the fraternity, and Mr. Brewer is among five individuals who have ever received the award, the second after the fraternity was re-chaptered when the Liberian crisis came to an end. He shares the honors with Presidents William V. S. Tubman, William R. Tolbert and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Mr. Williams noted that he would soon be appointing the honoree as a committee chairman, “now that he has more time to contribute to the fraternity.”
Out of 65 members, over 40 of which are in Liberia, Dr. Tokpa is one of two lifetime members of the fraternity – sharing that with president T. Nelson Williams.
The well attended fund raising ceremony was graced by several distinguished personalities including former and current government officials. Representatives of two of the orphanages that are supported by the fraternity were also present.
Meanwhile, the fraternity has joined the 16 Days of Activism against Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), which began with a march from Fish-Market in Congo Town to the Ministry of Gender in Central Monrovia. Many businesses and the office buildings many organizations around Monrovia are festooned with saffron signifying their alliance with the 16 Days of Activism.