Club takes lead in sharing ideas

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 5, 2006

WINTON – “Good morning, my name is……”

That warm welcome was heard on more than one occasion here Saturday morning where the Newport News Shipyard Commuters Club (NNSCC) hosted a “get-to-know-you” breakfast at the old C.S. Brown School cafeteria.

“We can go a long way in addressing issues here in Hertford County by simply sharing ideas,” said NNSCC member and Hertford County Commissioner John Pierce in early December just prior to sending out invitations to Saturday’s event.

Pierce went on to say that one of the biggest obstacles facing Hertford County’s government and municipal leaders was that many had never been formally introduced.

“From Como to Harrellsville and all points in-between, we all share the same problems in Hertford County,” Pierce noted. “But to solve those problems, we’ve got to know each other. That was the idea behind this breakfast meeting.”

Although he and other NNSCC members had hoped for a larger turnout, Pierce said Saturday’s meeting, which attracted approximately 25 individuals, was a good start.

“There’s a lot we can learn from each other here in Hertford County,” Pierce said. “We need to open the lines of communication and keep those lines open at all times.”

The meeting attracted at least one representative from each of Hertford County’s municipalities. Also in attendance were Hertford County Schools Superintendent Dennis Deloatch, School Board member Wendell Hall, local ministers and others that provide community type services.

“I like this idea of joining together to put names with these faces,” Como Mayor Irvin Stephens said. “This was a positive first meeting, one that I hope we can perhaps do on a regular basis. If we want to see change in Hertford County, we’ve got to put forth the effort.”

One of the ideas tossed around at Saturday’s gathering was countywide recreation.

“We need to form a committee to map out a recreational strategy that will benefit all of Hertford County,” Pierce said.

Currently, the town of Ahoskie is the only municipality in the county that offers a year-round recreation program. Murfreesboro has a limited program. There was also mention of the countywide soccer program, offered annually by the Roanoke-Chowan Soccer Association. Additionally there is a privately operated Pee Wee Football league with teams based in Hertford County.

“When dealing with a broad-based recreation program, it’s all about making connections,” Ronald Gatling, Ahoskie Town Councilman, said. “If we can make the connections, we can have (countywide) recreation.”

“We just need to bring it all together,” Pierce noted.

As the owners of the gym (as well as the cafeteria and north building) at the old C.S. Brown School, Pierce said the Commuters Club is seeking to become involved in providing recreational opportunities to the county residents living in and near the Winton-Cofield area.

“But we do not have the manpower or the resources to have someone here at the gym all the time; that’s where we need some help,” Pierce said.

After being advised to take the recreational idea to their respective town boards, the group said they would further discuss this issue at their next meeting.

Following a good, old-fashioned Southern breakfast, NNSCC President Sang Hamilton briefed those in attendance about the club.

Founded in 1976, the NNSCC now consists of nine members. The club formed in an effort to put something back into a community they love.

Hamilton said the club was extremely supportive of Special Olympics and was active in volunteering their services as school bus monitors.