The Book of Common Prayer in our Anglican Communion states that “In the midst of life, We are in death.” However, Hebrew 12:2 in the Bible instructs us to look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…
It is, therefore, my very sad duty but great honor to pay this deserving tribute to my best friend, Gabriel S. Gworlekaju, Jr., a noted journalist and veteran police officer, who served his country and humanity with dedication and distinction. Gab, as we affectionately referred to one another, passed from labor to rest on Sunday, January 2, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He was in his 40s. Gabriel had been in coma since he was involved in a terrible motor accident that occurred during the early hours of June 19, 2010.
I was in California, which has been my home away from home since fleeing Liberia during the civil crises, when this tragedy befell my beloved friend. Upon return to Washington, D.C., where I am currently posted as a diplomat at the Embassy of Liberia, I flew to Atlanta and visited Gab in the hospital, accompanied by another colleague and friend, Roger Seton, who also lives in the Atlanta area.
Standing over his bed-side and looking at him lying there motionless was so painful that I broke down and wept like a child. Unlike those days when there would be so much noise and laughter as we physically interacted or chatted on the phone, this time all the way that I called out to him as loud as I did, my friend remained still and unresponsive, which was a frightening reflection of how fragile and uncertain life can turn out to be.
Upon return to the United States after spending more than four years working in Liberia, the last time Gabriel and I saw one another was April 2010, when I was part of a Liberian Government delegation to conduct a town-hall meeting with the Liberian community in Atlanta. We hugged and talked for as long as was necessary until I retired to my hotel late that night, and had to catch a flight out of Atlanta early the next morning.
It was less than two months following my reassignment from Liberia, where I served as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. In my new capacity as Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs at the Liberian Embassy, Gabriel, who was trained and well knowledgeable in information technology, had offered to provide the necessary technical expertise, free of charge, to improve the information technology capacity of the Embassy’s Press and Public Affairs Department.
It was owing to his knowledge in information technology that Gabriel led the charge as the founder and Chief Executive Officer of RunningAfrica.com, an internet print and broadcast media network. RunningAfrica.com, which is in partnership with AfricaTV one, is one of the leading Liberian-oriented internet media in the Diaspora. Other colleagues who partnered with Gabriel in the management of RunningAfrica.com, which also broadcasts on radio WRAR-96, are noted broadcast journalists Emmanuel Abalo and Patrick Manjoe.