A Tribute to Ambassador Eleanor Harriet Cooper By Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

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I was blessed to know Ambassador Harriett Eleanor Cooper and to have had her work closely with me at important points in my political life. She had an exceptional sense of duty and was one of the most loyal persons that I have known.
Eleanor will be remembered as one true patriot who loved Liberia. Much of what she did was out of love for our country and her desire to help its people, particularly young people. All of us owe some of our successes to others and Eleanor was one who left her imprint on many lives, many in this church and others listening in.
She did many things behind the scenes, without fanfare and without seeking recognition. I am only now learning some of the things that she quietly undertook to do, with an attention to detail and with dedication. In the early days of my first presidential campaign, she took on the registration process for all the candidates of the Unity Party. When her mother became ill she tried to continue the task, until Ambassador Eddie Dunn stepped in to take over.
I grew to value her counsel – her titles of Appointment Secretary, Deputy Chief of Protocol and eventually Chief of Protocol in my office, while showing my trust in her, were not the full measure of her work and the values which we shared.
My 12 years of presidency were not the easiest, given the context in which we began. Eleanor was always there, steadfast and of course always stylish, elegant and graceful. As we worked together during the campaign, during the presidency and after, she and some others became a team and indeed family – celebrating the successes and squaring our shoulders one more time, when it seemed that so much more effort was still required.
She and my sister Jennie shared a special bond and I speak for her as well today. Also for Euphemia Brewer-Fasama, Ethel Holt-Toles and the Late Bobbin McClain with whom she worked as my core team. You will be truly missed Eleanor, by the entire Ministry of State staff and employees.
During her illness, we were in touch with her frequently and along with so many others, we prayed for her recovery. God had a different plan. Like the bible says, he takes pleasure in the death of his saints.
Eleanor perhaps never knew how much I valued her. Although I commended her many times. We have a tendency to wait until someone has passed to speak about their good deeds and contributions. Perhaps it is a reminder to all of us to show gratitude, love and support whilst one is alive.
To her sons and family, I pray that God will comfort you for this great loss. May her soul rest in perfect peace.

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