The government has described the death of Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Col. Eric Wamu Dennis as a great loss to the nation because he was a dedicated career soldier and a patriot who served his country for over 20 years.
Col. Dennis died on Monday, August 8, at the Duside Hospital in Harbel, Firestone, Margibi County, following a brief illness and leaves to mourn his loss, his widow Mrs. Leona Goodridge Dennis and six children, among others.
According to the Liberia Official Gazette read on Friday at the funeral rites, Col. Dennis, who rendered twenty (20) years of military service to the nation during the security sector reform (SSR) of the AFL, also signed up for the new military dispensation that was marked by rectitude and accountability.
He was also a member of the first batch of 110 recruits that began training on July 22, 2006 at the Barclay Training Center under DynCorp and later graduated on November 4, 2006, becoming part of the 106 soldiers that pioneered the AFL’s restructuring program.
Col. Dennis, who was commissioned by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on February 11, 2014, as the first Liberian Deputy Chief of Staff of the new AFL, was also decorated by the government as a ‘disciplinarian, a devoted Christian and a dedicated public servant.’
Giving the funeral discourse, the Most Rev. Jonathan B.B. Hart of the Episcopal Church of Liberia described Col. Dennis as a soldier who lived a life of service and sacrifices to God and his nation. Hart said Dennis was a dedicated soldier who also worshiped with the Good Shepard
Church as a Choir Director and organist.
According to the Bishop, the late Colonel worked tirelessly serving his country and the people at large during the services he rendered while with the AFL and at the University of Liberia.
He urged the bereaved family, government and people of Liberia to take courage in the Lord because Col. Dennis did his best in the race, and it was time for him to rest.
In his tribute on behalf of the family, a weeping Frederick Dennis stated that his father left a void that is very difficult to fill, especially for leaving their mother a very young widow to take care of all six of them.
He said his father was a very loving man who showed love to the family and country by putting much of his time and effort in contributing to the nation and growing a happy family.
He said the family regrets his father’s death, especially his mother and “our grandparents who are very old and live in Harper, Maryland County.”
“Dad, we will miss you. Your sudden death came too early for us especially being kids who still depend on you and mother for a better life.
“You have left us in tears so soon and we think this is a dream; however, may your soul rest in perfect peace.”
Several officials of government, members of the Diplomatic Corps, US Army, former government officials, families, and sympathizers paid their last respect to the fallen hero.
Just before the announcement of tributes to be made, an official of the Masonic Craft, of which the late Col. Dennis was a member, interrupted the service, complaining that they had not been included in the program and that they expected to pay their tributes during the church service.
Little did he know that, with the exception of the Government of Liberia and the family, the Episcopal Church of Liberia does not allow any other tributes to be paid during the funeral service, but at the wake.
The church officials informed the Masonic Craft official that if he and his brethren wanted to perform any tribute, they should do so at the grave site, after the church had concluded its final rites.
The Minister of Defense, Brownie J. Samukai meanwhile intervened and asked the priest to continue according to the program.
The funeral service took place at the Trinity Cathedral on Broad Street, and the burial took place at Bensonville Cemetery in Bentol City, Montserrado County.