With Support From International Longshoremen’s Association, Kenny Riley Leads Effort Spreading Christmas Cheer To Children In Remote Village of Garmu in Liberia, Western Africa
NORTH BERGEN, NJ (December 22, 2020) – Hundreds of African children from the remote village of Garmu and surrounding areas in Liberia near the Western Africa shore were treated to an early Christmas when Ken Riley, ILA International Vice President from the Port of Charleston, South Carolina and Mark Bass, President of ILA Local 1410 in Mobile, Alabama brought gifts of clothing, shoes, computer laptops, mobile phones and iPad.
International President Harold Daggett led the fund raising effort to supply Brothers Riley and Bass with gifts for the African children, along with assistance from Stephen Knott, International Secretary-Treasurer; Dennis A. Daggett, International Executive Vice President; Wilbur Rowell, General Vice President; , John Baker, General Organizer; Jim Paylor and Alan Robb, ILA Assistant General Organizers and Benny Holland, Jr., International Executive Vice President Emeritus.
Serving as ILA Elves to help collect Christmas gifts for these children were Lisa Bess, ILA Political Affairs Director; Stephanie Lineberg, Executive Assistant and Joshua Hertzberg, Director of Operations.
“I’m so grateful for the support of my ILA family,” said Kenneth Riley, who also serves as President of ILA Local 1422 in Charleston, South Carolina. “Thanks to President Daggett and the ILA officers, Lisa, Stephanie, Josh and others, we were able the provide a lot of kids with clothing, shoes and computer equipment.”
Riley said that since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Africa, most of the kids the ILA helped this year had been moved to Garmu from their homes. All the children got involved in taking down some of the forest and wetlands to create a rice field to provide food to eat. The fields have been named in honor of the ILA.
Riley complimented the three African nations he and Bass traveled to, for their response to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Testing in Africa was very stringent and, as a result, their numbers are very good,” said Riley who took eight COVID-19 tests during his travels in addition to a blood test.
Riley described the joy experienced by the African children as they received their Christmas gifts. “The ILA brought the spirit of Christmas to the other side of the ocean,” said Riley.
“This year, I estimate that 500 children showed up for the ILA Christmas Celebration in Africa,” said Riley. “The Christmas Feast was unbelievable with Jollof rice, white rice, chicken, casava leaves, potato greens, American style hot dogs; candy, cookies, nuts and drinks.”
In addition to support from the International and ILA Locals 1422 and 1410, Riley noted that Gus Olalere, Chief Financial Officer, Cornerstone Financials, was a major supporter of providing Christmas gifts to the children of Garmu in Liberia