San Francisco Bay Area, California
San Francisco Convention Yielded an Overwhelming Success
Contrary to the widespread assumption that a California convention was going to result into a financial loss to the organization, the San Francisco convention exceeded all expectations. First of all, the total budget for the entire weekend of festivities was far below any convention held in recent times. Thanks to Dr. Butscher and his hard-working team for putting it all together.
It all started on Friday, the 11th when members and friends began arriving in the early morning hours. Since it was too early to check in to the hotel, everyone congregated at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Butscher in the beautiful suburb of San Francisco called Half Moon Bay (about a 25-minute drive from the International Airport). The Butschers gracefully opened their home to the early arrivals and teased their appetites with some delicious fufu and soup. Once the hotel was ready for check-in, the group departed the hosts home (some via rental vehicles and others by a 15-seater van made available by Dr. Butscher and company). Noticeably absent from this year’s convention among the regular attendees were former President and Board member, Tommy G. Logan, Oscar Barnard, Richmond Matthews, Berma Findley, Georgia Hansen, and Joseph D. Sinyan.
At about 7:30PST on Friday, the van was again made available to transport people to the residence for the meet and greet social. The van was driven by Mr. Joseph Peters, a 1979 graduate of the Bassa High School, who happens to also reside in the Bay area. He was gracious and patient enough to make several trips because most people didn’t drive. It was about an 18-minute drive between the hotel and the home of the Butschers, but the road is very curvy and winding in some portions.
The meet and greet social was a blast. There was a variety of Liberian dishes prepared by some of the best ladies of the area. With so much food and a wide selection to choose from, everyone had enough to eat. The DJ kept the music playing and everyone had a good time (including one of the hosts, Mrs. Butscher). Mrs. Butscher was elegantly dressed in a beautiful African attire, matching the one worn by her husband. At the end of the evening, our ladies rallied around the hosts and friends to clean up and get the area ready for the events of Saturday.
During the morning hours of Saturday, the 12th, Mr. Joseph Peters, a resident of the area and friend of the Butschers, offered his service to drive the van provided for the weekend. He immediately got busy shuttling people from the hotel to the home of the Butschers (about a 20-minute drive). Breakfast was served shortly before the start of the business meeting. Again, the hardworking ladies of Northern California had spread the tables with a variety of food, including cassava and fish gravy, corn bread, and others, as well as an assortment of hot and cold drinks to quench any form of thirst.
Our regular business meeting started shortly after 10:00am at which time President asked Mrs. Davidetta Lloyd-Konneh to proxy for the absent Secretary, Mrs. Georgia B. Hansen. It is worth noting that Mrs. Hansen was not in attendance because of the medical condition of her loving husband, Mr. Robert Hansen. She had to be by his side during this difficult period, exhibiting an attribute of the potion of her vow (in sickness and in health). Also in the absence of the Chaplain, Ms. Berma Findley, Rev. Al William Green offered the opening prayer. More on the details of the business meeting will be made available in the minutes recorded by the acting Secretary. The President did give his state of the association remarks, outlining some of the highlights of activities during the course of the year since the last convention. Two things worthy of mentioning here include the election of officers and the venue of the 2024 convention.
Regarding the election presided over by Committee Chairman, Mr. Patrick Williams, Dr. Joel was reelected President by acclamation, Mr. Roy Reeves elected as Vice President unopposed, replacing Mrs. Frances Potter-Baigebo who was not seeking reelection. Mrs. Davidetta Konneh elected as Secretary also unopposed, replacing the outgoing Secretary, Mrs. Georgia Hansen, who will devote much of her time to caring for her husband as well as working. The financial team comprising of Mrs. Alfreda Davis as Financial Secretary and Ms. Pearl Knowlden as Treasurer were overwhelmingly re-elected. Vying for the Chaplaincy were current Chaplain, Ms. Berma Findley and the Rev. Al William Green. At the end of voting, Rev. Green became victorious. As was expected, Florida was selected as the venue for the 2024 convention. Details of the exact location will be communicated to the association, once the Floridians decide. Overall, the business was convened in a relatively short time, giving the fact that an election was involved.
A healthy lunch was served containing choice Liberia dishes. At about 2:00pm, Mr. Peters was ready to take a group of convention goers on a guided tour of key areas of San Francisco, including the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
The main event of the weekend was the Fundraising Dinner and Ball. It was held at the Ted Adcock Senior Community Center, 535 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay. Scheduled to start at 7:30pm, it actually started close to 8:45pm with two outstanding Masters of Ceremonies, Mr. James King and Mrs. Narwale Washington, both of Northern California. Members and guests entered on the red carpet where beautiful photos were taken as they exited their various vehicles and strolled towards the hall. Upon entry, they were entertained by a renowned Disc Jockey of the area, playing some nice jazz tunes. Highlights of the evening included a thought provoking address by our keynote speaker; installation of the elected officers; awards to outstanding members; the fundraiser queen contest; the grand march led by former Board Chairman and escorted by Mrs. Diana Harmon.
Our keynote speaker was Mr. Yudusie Eddie Tarpeh, a man with a wealth of knowledge is both an educator and a minister of the gospel in the Northern California area. His life embodies three distinct virtues: Compassion, Empathy and Altruism. He spoke brilliantly about Education for 21sth Century Learning Strategies and Implementation. Mr. Tarpeh called for educational instructions to get up to date with the growing technological changes available to enhance the rapid rate of learning. At the end of his address, he was called upon to install the newly elected officers.
Five distinguished ladies of the association were honored for exceptional service to the organization. They were: Mrs. Anna Konah-Jackson (former Secretary), Ms. Pearl Knowlden (Treasurer), Mrs. Alfreda Davies (Financial Secretary), Mrs. Frances Potter-Baigebo ( former Vice President), and Ms. Esther Caulcrick (current Board Secretary).
The fun part of the occasion was the queen contest. It was a time when two lovely ladies, Ms. Siah WB Reeves (representing the State of Maryland) and Ms. Mardea Moore (representing the State of California) were competing for the crown as Ms. BHSAUSA. Putting beauty aside, this was a strictly financial contest. At the end of three short rounds of voting financially, Ms. Reeves emerged as the winner, raising more than $5000 for the association. Ms. Moore came as a strong second, raising more than $3000 for the association. This was the most money raised during the queen contest in the association’s history.
Following the Grand March which was skillfully led by former Board Chair, Victor King and his partner Diana Harmon, the dance floor was opened to everyone. They danced until the close of the night shortly after midnight. An after ball party continued at the home of the Butschers which was roughly five minutes from the hall.
Sunday’s brunch was attended by a handful of persons since most of the members and their guest took early flights to fly across country. Those remaining were the King boys from California (James and Kolleh), former Board Vice Chair, D. Augustus Nyekan, and Mr. & Mrs. Joe Davis. The Floridians have vowed to put up an equal or better convention in 2024. It remains to be seen if they are up to the challenge.