Liberian Senior Citizens Elect Leaders

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Some members of the Senior Citizens of Liberia on election day (March 6). Roll-call: Back row (from left): President-elect S. Roland Obedekah (with hat) partially hidden; Hesta Woods Baker (partially hidden); Lucretia Burke (sitting); Clarice M. Shannon; and Mariatu K. Flomoby. Middle row (From left): Jessie Wah King; Bendu M. Rennie (sitting); and Ben Tetteh. Madam Jessie Wah King. Front row (From left): Marthia T. Clarke; and Celestine y. Selay (Nurse)

-Pick VP Jewel Howard-Taylor as installation officer

By Samuel G. Dweh/freelance journalist

A group for Liberian elderly under the banner, Senior Citizens Association of Liberia (SCAL), has elected a new corps of officers for a two-year term to the end 2020.

SCAL, which was founded in 2007 by some elderly Liberians accepts membership from people age 55 and above.

The election was held during the group’s regular general monthly meeting (1st Saturday) at the YWCA building in Congo Town on March 6.

Most of the aged members were aided by those that are agile as they climbed the entrance staircase of the YWCA building; some grunting on the difficulty of moving their weakening bodily frame upward the stairs.

Jessie Wah King, the oldest member, born May 25, 1919, opened the meeting that was attended by ten persons with a prayer.  

 S. Roland Obedekah, born on January 19, 1949, won the presidential election with no contender.

“My leadership will make this association visible; from this building into our own place to establish branch offices in other counties,” Obedekah said in his acceptance speech.

Other elected officials were Hesta Woods Baker, vice president (born  January 5, 1939); Bendu Rennie, secretary (born April 9, 1968); Clarice Shannon, financial secretary (absent during the election); Lucretia Burke, treasurer (born December 23, 1959); and Samuel Early, Chaplain (absent during election).

Meanwhile, the officials have selected Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor to serve as installing officer.

The body’s regular meeting place was chosen as the venue for the installation scheduled for April 29.

The elections were climaxed with the Association regular distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical check-ups on members for testing diabetes, blood pressure, and malaria. Some of the drugs (tablets) were Feso, Multi-Vitamins, Fansider, Folic Acid and B-Complex.

Nurses (members) Bendu M. Rennie (born April 9, 1968) and Celestine Selay (born April 27, 1975) administered the distribution of the drugs and the medical check-ups.

SCAL was founded in 2007 by Bade Baker, Mrs. Jessie Wah King, Mrs. Dolley Massaquoi, and Mrs. Tidi Speare Stewart.

SCAL is a sister-branch of the Liberian Senior Citizens Association (LISCA), founded by a group of Liberians living in Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex (USA) in 1998.

Some of LISCA’s founding members are Mr. and Mrs. Goda Baker (who conceived the idea), Mrs. Patricia Taylor, Mrs. Esther Flowers-Gaye, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Dunbar, Mrs. Antoinette Tubman, and Fred Taylor.

In an interview with this reporter, the vice president of SCAL, Mrs. Hesta Baker, said the idea of a U.S.-based group, LISCA, came from her husband, M.W. Goda Baker. “He was the first Economic Geologist in Liberia in 1958 and worked with the Government of Liberia from that time to 1985 when the coup destabilized the country,” she recalled.

On her personal educational achievements, Mrs. Baker, wife of the brainchild of LISCA, informed this reporter: “I’m an educator. I got a Master’s degree in Education from the San Francisco State University.”

The objective of SCAL, borrowed from its parent-body, LISCA, is to “keep senior citizens active beyond retirement from national public or private service,” Madam Hesta Baker explained. “We are all professionals. When you are retired, you don’t want to stay at home, doing nothing.”

In the United States, LISCA had focused, as objectives, on sending down to Liberia toys for children at Care Homes and walking aid sticks (White Cane) for visually impaired persons. “You know, the civil war affected Liberian children and visually impaired persons more than the other groups,” Madam said.

The group also offers free medical services including blood test, diabetes check at its meeting (1st Tuesday in each month). “These services are free of charge,” SCAL’s Vice President Hesta Wood Baker said.

The general membership closed the meeting/election with a biblical song, “How Great Thou Art.”

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