Edward and Odilia Koni of Manassas are being recognized as “Parents of the Year” for keeping their family together despite terrible circumstances.
They will be honored at a Virginia Parents' Day Alliance celebration this weekend in nearby Bristow.
“Our honorees this year are parenting heroes, par excellence,” said Barbara Moseley-Marks, chair of the Virginia Parents’ Day Alliance. “They show us that the love of a mother and a father, and of a couple for each other, can triumph over any storm of strife and privation and lead their children to solid ground.”
The Koni’s have raised eight children. Edward Koni, the former leading financial official in Cameroon, described the hardship of having to leave the corrupt and unstable West African country on short notice. Koni said the family had to leave without their belongings and abandon their extended family, church and friends as they sought a new life outside the country they called home.
The Koni family has lived in the United States for six years, and Mr. Koni recently became a U.S. citizen.
Manassas Mayor Harry J. Parrish ll has issued a proclamation declaring Sunday, July 29 to be Parents’ Day in the City of Manassas. On Monday, Congressman Charles Rangel of New York entered a statement in the Congressional Record recognizing this year’s National Parents’ Day.
The Koni family will be honored as nominees from Virginia as “Parents of the Year” at a celebration of Virginia Parents’ Day on Saturday, July 28 in Bristow, VA, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Choice Books. Both Congressman Frank Wolf and Governor Bob McDonnell have been invited to attend the event, which will feature live entertainment by folk-rock band, U.T.D.
More information about Parents' Day:
Parents' Day is officially July 22, 2012. One couple from each state Parents’ Day celebration will join the national Parents’ Day celebration on Capitol Hill on Sept 19. National Parents Day was signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton after a unanimous vote of Congress. It is officially marked every fourth Sunday in July.