By Eric S. Cox Sr., Architect
When I returned to Liberia in the late 1960’s after many years growing up and studying in New York City, USA, I joined the staff of the Ministry of Public Works located on Lynch Street near the Antoinette Tubman Stadium and the Barclay Training Center. The names of professional Architects and Engineers such as Mr. D. Colston Nelson, Alexander J. Ketter, Diamond Nayreau Sr. and others all now deceased were constantly referenced as trail blazers in the fields of architecture and engineering in Liberia in the halls of the Ministry of Public Works.
The Minister of Public Works at that time was Honourable Gabriel J. Tucker, an Engineer who welcomed me home and hired me immediately as an Architect. I then met his lead lieutenants, two brilliant and stalwart associates Winston Richards and Aaron B. Milton Jr. Architects, now both deceased. On their shoulders rested the task of establishing and maintaining the technical standards for design, build, and construction of physical structures, roads, and zoning within Montserrado county and the entire country by extension. They were a team of young, brilliant and professional personnel who executed the enormous task to set standards for building and construction in the country. They encouraged the training of young Liberians as junior technicians such as draftsmen and surveyors at the Ministry. They performed remarkably well.
As members of their families you have every reason to be proud of their professional accomplishments at Public Works and the entire country. Their names will surely be called at home and written in the technical annals of the country because their works speak volumes. I was excited to join the team because of the opportunities it afforded me to practice my craft as an Architect and contribute to the physical development of the country also.
On this solemn occasion, the death of Honorable Aaron J. Milton Jr., I am reminded of the many development projects that were customarily planned and executed in the various counties of Liberia annually. The particular event was planned for many months to celebrate the birthday of the President of Liberia, an inaugural event or a particular holiday including the rotational independence day celebrations. Under their leadership, teams of professionals from the Ministry of Public Works in Monrovia, would be organized and dispatched to supervise and inspect the projects before its unveiling. They employed a system of placing all hands on deck to plan, design and supervise those projects while liaising with members of the central and local governments simultaneously. The last minute rush that accompanied the targeted project completion deadlines were characterized by sleepless nights and long road travels for personnel of the Ministry. It was their able leadership, technical expertise and professional work ethics that made each project a resounding success, given the logistical constraints existing at home at that time.
I now pray that the soul of Mr. Aaron B. Milton Jr., who has now joined his associates of technical professionals who journeyed on before, will continue to rest in perfect peace and that light perpetual will shine upon them always.
Eric S. Cox Sr. is a Former President of the Liberia Chamber of Architects (Now Liberia Institute of Architects)