The weekend of August 14 through 16 began with an air of excitement and expectation. As people arrived at the Sheraton suites in downtown Wilmington, DE, everyone was eager to know and meet those that arrived earlier. Excitement replaced exhaustion from either a long ride or long flight the minute convention goers entered the hotel lobby. It became a true spirit of meet and greet to the point that no one seemed eager to go to their rooms. The excitement arose out of the fact that this was an election year and the expectation was about the presidency. Some anticipated a fierce election battle between incumbent president Patrick Williams and Board Chair Nuku Reeves. Expectations subsided as the evening progressed without any sign of last minute campaigning.
A good number of persons assembled in the suite of then Board Chair Nuku Reeves and his darling wife, Serena B. Reeves, where the best in drinks was available for immediate consumption, as well as some good home-cooked food. Everyone dived in and began the weekend of celebration. Later came word of food in several suites. One had the choice to go wherever he desired, depending on the preferred dish. Several persons played spider and went to the Lloyd sisters's suite at first, took care of business and then went to the suite of outgoing Financial Secretary, J. Alexander Morris. No one really cared as delicious meals were in abundance. Some were prepared by renowned Liberian dish specialist, Annie Wright, while others were brought in by travelling members and from local sources. The weekend was truly off to a good start.
Later in the evening, everyone gathered in the meeting room for the official kick-off of convention 2015. It was exciting to see the old usual faces of regular attendees and even more excited to see some new faces and those of some that had stayed away for years. Osseh Brownell Gordon, C. Nathaniel Pope and his lovely bride Kumba, Stephen Joe, Kolleh King, Maryetta Reeves Goodlin, Nathaniel T. Brumskine, and Eddie Harris, Jr. were some of the added excitement of the evening. One noticeable absence at the meet, greet, and welcome social was the Caulcricks. We later learned that their flight arrived rather late. Our DJ played the right mix of music that evening, giving us a preview of what to expect during Saturday evening’s ball.
Saturday morning started out refreshing. The group was served a full course breakfast. There was something on the menu for everyone. A particular favorite stop was at the omelet table where the omelet man was standing by to prepare the omelet of your choosing. It is noteworthy to mention that the hotel staff was very excited to host us for the second time in three years. They were very accommodating to all of our needs and concerns. The business section commenced immediately following breakfast (details of this part of the weekend are prepared separately in the form of minutes). Following the business section, participants gathered in a few separate suites to chat and have a few more drinks prior to preparation for the big evening event.
With a new administration in place, Saturday’s big event started out with plenty to talk about; who was in, who got ousted from their positions, and the elegant attires of the evening. For those that were unable to attend, please refer to the pictures above, as pictures can tell more words than can be written. There was much to talk about the excellent job done by the MC for the evening, Berma Findley. She took MCing to the next level with the variety of outfits worn and her handling of the flow of things. She changed two times during the program each new outfit looking even more attractive than the previous one worn. We were made to understand that she had plans to change into two additional outfits had time permitted. Someone close to her said in confidence that the outfits were already laid out on her bed awaiting the appropriate time to make the change. She had to be stopped so as not to steal all of the attention. As usual, outgoing president D. Patrick Williams came in a little late with the lovely Beatrix Flah by his side. Mrs. Serena Reeves wore a simple looking but very elegant evening outfit, so did Kay Ann Thomas. On the male front, newly elected Board member Calvin R. Johnson wore a pair of custom designed shoes to complement his suit (a tuxedo), while outgoing Financial Secretary, J. Alexander Morris wore a one of a kind hat. Board Chair Victor King was sharp as usual with a distinct tie and matching handkerchief carefully tucked in the left breast pocket of his jacket.
As the evening progressed, the crowd was warmly entertained by Liberian celebrity, Caroline (CC) Barnard. She had on hand copies of her newly released CD, featuring among other songs, the Bassa High School ode. We were grateful to have in our midst, Milton and Comfort Warner, both of whom are always supportive of our events. Also in attendance were Emmanuel Smith and his bride, big Robert H. Johnson and his bride, the Wannehs, and Dr. Gertrude Findley, among many others.
Earlier in the program, our newly elected Chaplain, Diana Harmon opened with a spirit filled inspiring prayer. It took almost everyone by surprise to hear such prayer coming from a person fashionably dressed with exposed tattoo. But it happened with such power that a soul could have been converted. A variety of deliciously prepared food was served by the hotel staff, all of whom appeared to have had a good time themselves. As the evening progressed, we heard from the guest speaker, Counselor Chauncey Johnson, a native of Grand Bassa County. He spoke almost exclusively about his accomplishments in the academic and professional arenas, and promised to give a very generous contribution towards the association’s effort to assist our alma matar, the Bassa High School. Outgoing president gave some parting remarks, expressing the joy it was to serve for the time he did and the support received.
Incoming president Nuku Reeves Thanked members for electing him and promised to move the organization to a higher level with the support of all. He promised an inclusive government and invited everyone to lay aside their differences and join in to move BHSAUSA forward. Elected officers and Board Members were later installed by the keynote speaker, Cllr. Chauncey Johnson.
The annual queen contest was held with a slightly different flavor. It was a King and Queen contest with Board Member Charles G. Nagbe representing the men and in the absence of outgoing Queen Dekontee Taylor, the lovely Beatrix Flah representing the women. At the end of three short rounds, Mr. Nagbe became victorious by raising the most money, thus becoming the first ever person to capture such a position. His reign is for a year or longer, if he can defend the crown next year. The annual raffle followed with three cash prizes given. President Nuku Reeves was the lucky winner of the second prize of $250, an amount he donated back into the treasury.
The evening was climaxed with the Grand March led by Board Chairman Victor D. King and his partner, Chaplain Diana Harmon. After this the dance floor got flooded as people danced the night away until closing.
An elaborate breakfast on Sunday morning, courtesy of President Nuku Reeves brought the weekend festivities to an end. We look forward to having a similar time or better in 2016 when the convention goes to Southern New Jersey under the Chairmanship of Dr. A. Joel King.