Rotary Foundation of Rotary International has conferred on Benjamin S. Kettor, a Liberian philanthropist based in the United States of America, the global and prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award at its 100th anniversary celebration in the US.
Mr. Kettor was recognized for his humanitarian assistance to vulnerable and less fortunate people around the world.
The Paul Harris Fellow is one of the highest honors bestowed on individuals by Rotarians in appreciation of the tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples across the world.
Kettor, a native of Foya District, Lofa County, now joins fellow past recipients, notable among them are Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Anan, Prince Charles, Indira Gandhi, King Hussein of Jordan and Pope John Paul II.
In a dispatch from the United States, the Liberian humanitarian said he is humbled to be listed among the aforementioned high profile personalities who had earlier received the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award.
Mr. Kettor said this unexpected recognition from Rotary International has provided him the impetus to work and collaborate with more individuals and institutions to improve the livelihoods of those who cannot afford for themselves, especially in the areas of health care, education, and other basic social services.
Mr. Kettor started his education at early age with the full sponsorship and guidance of his grandparents to whom, he said, he is eternally obligated “for their unified effort creating light in my life, which became a pathway to a brighter future.”
Kettor lived with his grandparents until the outbreak of the Liberian civil war in 1989, a situation that compelled him to seek refuge in Guinea.
As a refugee, Kettor was incorporated into a formal and complex educational system sponsored by the United Nations, and organized and operated by International Rescue Committee. He completed his high school studies at Kango Refugee High School in Gueckedou, Guinea, where he experienced firsthand the challenges living in a third world country, “not to talk about being a refugee.”
Although he lived in a desert, Kettor said he prayed for everlasting manna, which was the dependable legacy prescribed by his beloved grandparents. In the midst of all his challenges, he said his philosophical beliefs remained intact.
Kettor holds an undergraduate degree (BRE – Bachelor of Religious Education) in Organizational Leadership from Davis College, NY, USA, and is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Human Services at Liberty University, Virginia, USA.
While in the Diaspora, Kettor paved the way for Orphan Cry International USA to visit and undertake quick impact projects in Liberia in places like Christ our Hope Orphanage in Sinkor and Mother Blessing Orphanage outside Monrovia. Also in partnership with other individuals and para-church organizations,
Kettor spearheaded the support of 100 pastors in December 2015, who received a Christmas gift package each that included rice, vegetable oil and a Thompson Chain Reference Bible. He has been in partnership with multiple Rotary clubs both in Liberia and the USA.