When God Gives You a Talent, Use It for Good

first_imgLast Saturday, Willis DeFrancis Knuckles, Jr. was laid to rest following a funeral service during which a rainstorm of  praises were showered upon him for his many contributions  to his family, country, church and people.Amidst all of the tributes paid to this fallen national hero, no one, not even his closest family members, said that he was perfect. But unlike the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, at whose historic funeral Mark Antony remarked, “We have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him,” the audience that overcrowded the Seys United Methodist Church in Careysburg last Saturday came to bid a glowing farewell to a man who used his extraordinary talents as an organizer, manager and fundraiser to accomplish great things for his family, country,  church and people.His wife Hawa, Willis’  Cuttington College sweetheart whom he married 45 years ago, two years after his graduation, wept bitterly as she departed the gravesite  saying, “He was a good man.”The funeral was attended both by the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai.  The President was also at the gravesite, and tarried with the widow and family during the repast.All could see and behold that Ellen was gravely shaken by the loss of the man who twice organized her successful presidential campaigns that won her two successive elections to the Liberian presidency.  She appointed him twice to the Cabinet, first as Public Works Minister and later as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.  After that he remained her confidante because she appreciated his wise counsel and his ability to get things done efficiently and quickly.  Willis had only one academic degree, the Bachelor’s in Natural Sciences from the prestigious Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University); but there are not many most highly educated people that possess his extraordinary skills as an organizer and manager or, simply put, as a man who knew how to get things done.That is why in her obituary on Saturday she told over a thousand who had gathered for the funeral something she had never said publicly: that it was Willis DeFrancis Knuckles that she had earmarked to organize the transfer of the Liberian capital from Monrovia in Montserrado County to Zekepa in Nimba County!Speaker after speaker marveled at the distinguishing feature of Willis’ personality, aptly summed up by his son Willis III: “My father was a manager and organizer par excellence.”Willis the younger recalled the bouts he had with his father over football.  Willis, Jr. passionately supported Barrolle, while the son and the rest of the family were adherents of Invincible Eleven (I.E.).  Willis, Jr., the democrat, allowed his son to have his way, though the father spent a lot of time striving to get his son to cross over.  The son recalled how his father, as a leader of the Liberian Football Association (LFA) inspired  many, including George Weah and Salinsa Debar on to international stardom.Family members recalled how Willis, Jr. for 37 years served effectively as head of family, organizing, especially during the 14-year Liberian civil war the departures of scores of Knuckleses through Danane and Abidjan to asylum in the United States. His daughters called him their “personal hero.”  The Advance Committee of the United Methodist Church hailed him as one of its most effective  workers and fundraisers.But it was the Seys Church that was the greatest beneficiary of Willis’ fundraising prowess.  He was still in exile in the USA when in the early 2000s he began organizing the rebuilding of the church following the war.  That having been accomplished, the edifice was later destroyed by fire.  As distressed Careysburgians tearfully crowded around the gutted edifice on the afternoon of the fire, Benoni Urey, then Mayor of Careysburg, recalled Willis having declared, “We will rebuild the church again.”He immediately began organizing and strategizing the fundraising and within a few months he raised nearly a half million dollars, both nationally and internationally.  The rebuilt church is far bigger, far more beautiful than the first.The reason for this editorial is not so much to sing Willis Knuckles’ praises, but to remind everyone reading it, especially Liberians, that when our beneficent Creator gives someone a talent, he or she should use it for GOOD.That is what Willis Knuckles did with his, and the world is better for it.  Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Strike threat leaves cloud over La Liga

first_img0Shares0000Lionel Messi scored twice for Barcelona on the opening weekend © AFP / LLUIS GENEMADRID, Spain, Aug 24 – The prospect of a player strike hangs over Spanish football heading into the second week of the season, as Barcelona and Real Madrid look to build on winning starts to the campaign.La Liga bosses dropped a bombshell on the eve of the campaign when they announced their intention to stage top-flight matches in the United States, starting from this season. However, a move announced as part of attempts to improve the Spanish league’s global popularity has this week been attacked by the country’s players union, AFE.“Footballers are not for sale. We don’t only think about money,” said AFE president David Aganzo, once a striker on Madrid’s books.The union say they hope to persuade league chiefs to change their minds at a meeting next month, with strike action promised if they do not get the outcome they are hoping for.“We are worried for supporters. We see football in a different way. Going to the United States is madness,” Aganzo added.The AFE have also said that match scheduling is a concern, with Valencia’s opening weekend draw with Atletico Madrid one of two games played on Monday night.Matches that do not finish until after midnight are also a feature of the start of the new season, with champions Barcelona’s match at Valladolid one such game this weekend.– Messi in fine fettle already –Ernesto Valverde’s side face their newly promoted opponents fresh from starting their title defence by beating Alaves 3-0 at the Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi scoring a brace, including a superb free-kick.“Finding a way to stop Messi is practically impossible,” said Valladolid coach Sergio Gonzalez.“We will try to ensure that he touches the ball as little as possible. That is great in theory, but the important thing is to stay focused.”While Messi looked as brilliant as ever against Alaves, Real began life in La Liga without Cristiano Ronaldo by beating Getafe 2-0.For now, the two great individuals of the last decade continue to be compared with one another, even with Ronaldo having left for Juventus.“People rarely mention one without mentioning the other,” Valverde said in an interview with Barcelona club media.“A lot of people are interested, me too, to see how it will affect Real Madrid’s football and what they might do in the transfer market, and also knowing that Ronaldo is at another club and what that might mean for La Liga and the Champions League too.”– Courtois awaits debut –Will Thibaut Courtois make his Real Madrid debut in Girona? © AFP / JAVIER SORIANOThe early signs for Real are that Gareth Bale will step forward, after he scored one goal and made another against Getafe to give new coach Julen Lopetegui his first win at the helm.The European champions go to Catalonia on Sunday night to face Girona — who beat them in this fixture last season — with Thibaut Courtois still waiting to make his debut in goal following his arrival from Chelsea.Atletico have been tipped to make a serious push for the title this season, and they started with a 1-1 draw at Valencia, despite Angel Correa giving them the lead.Diego Simeone’s side have a derby at home to newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano on Saturday evening and come into the game with winger Vitolo having been ruled out for several weeks with a knee injury.Rayo look set to welcome back striker Raul de Tomas on loan from Real Madrid, with media reports saying he has agreed to return to the club for whom he netted 24 times on loan during their run to promotion last season.Fixtures (all times GMT)FridayGetafe v Eibar (1815), Leganes v Real Sociedad (2015)SaturdayAlaves v Betis (1615), Atletico Madrid v Rayo Vallecano (1815), Valladolid v Barcelona (2015)SundayEspanyol v Valencia (1615), Girona v Real Madrid, Sevilla v Villarreal (both 2015)MondayLevante v Celta Vigo (1815), Athletic Bilbao v Huesca (2000)0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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