Reason for the season

Published 9:09 am Friday, December 28, 2012

Senior citizens from the seven counties comprising District 1A of the NCASSCC gathered in Winton for an annual Christmas party hosted by the Hertford County Office of Aging. Included in the three-hour event was plenty of traditional Christmas holiday food, as shown here being served. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

WINTON – Young children are not the only age group who are wide-eyed as the calendar begins its countdown towards Dec. 25.

Judging by the limited number of empty seats recently at the Ralph Smith Center on the campus of the Elks Shrine in Winton, the “golden” generation also enjoys this special time of the year.

With a near capacity crowd on hand, Hertford County hosted the annual District 1A N.C. Association of Senior Citizens Clubs (NCASCC) Christmas Party on Dec. 7. There, the real reason of the season was on full display as nearly 300 individuals gathered to share a gift – that of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and doing so in a fun atmosphere shared by friends.

That large group – to include NCASCC members representing Beaufort, Bertie, Halifax, Hertford, Nash, Pitt and Wilson counties – was thoroughly entertained with songs of the season as presented by the event’s DJ, Johnny Ruffin of Lewiston, as well as the Potecasi String Band. Some of the songs were interactive, causing the large meeting hall to fill with holiday voices singing in unison.

Daphne Lee of the Hertford County Office of Aging who also acts as the Club Advisor for NCASCC District 1A, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. NCASCC President Thomas Carmon gave opening remarks, reminding those in attendance of the other significance of this particular day (the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor).

James Britt, President of the Hertford County Planning & Advisory Committee, introduced the special guests in attendance, to include Hertford County Manager Loria Williams and County Sheriff Juan Vaughan.

“Being a part of a senior citizen group, so many of those groups are here today and will share with you the same thing, keeps me vibrant; keeps me healthy,” said Irene Allmond of Como, who was later installed as Assistant Treasurer of NCASCC District 1A. “I take part in exercise classes and eat a nutritional lunch every weekday at one of the three sites we have here in Hertford County.”

Allmond said she also takes part regional and state conferences; trips on the Spirit of Norfolk, and senior games.

“They keep us very active,” said Allmond, retired from the Durham Police Department. “I enjoy everything they have to offer. This Christmas party is among my favorite things.”

Rev. Joseph Futrell of Winton Baptist Church was the event’s featured speaker.

“I love to give presents; I love to get presents; but I love God above all,” Futrell said. “The love of God and his son, Jesus, is the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Let’s be like a child again so we can celebrate for what it means….Jesus is the reason we celebrate.”

Futrell said one of the main things people can do to get Christ back in their lives is to, “build bridges so we can connect with others.” He also spoke of how wonderful Christmas was as a child.

“My family wasn’t rich; there were three boys and I can remember each of us getting the same thing during Christmas,” he recalled. “But no matter, they were happy times. Now we try to give so much stuff that we forget to give the real thing….that’s our love; that’s what God wants us to give. That’s why he sent his son, Jesus, to love us.”

Futrell also spoke on the blessing that comes with giving.

“I love to see people’s faces when they open up a gift,” Futrell stressed. “Now think folks of how great God felt when he gave his son, Jesus Christ, to Mary to be born on that Christmas night. It’s nice to receive a gift, but it’s great to give one. This year I challenge you to become a blessing by giving to someone else. This year let the true spirit of Christmas shine through you.”

Also on the event’s agenda was Morgan Whitehurst of Tarboro who installed the District 1A officers for 2012-13, a group that included Melvin Askew of Colerain (Vice President), Hazel Downing of Ahoskie (Secretary), and Allmond.

Lesia Davis, District 1A Club Advisor, presented the District’s outgoing officers and advisors with gifts.

Mary Baker of Greenville read a poem in memory of District 1A members who have passed away since the last Christmas party.

Linda Blackburn, Director of the Hertford County Office of Aging, gave closing remarks.

The Christmas party hosted by the Hertford County Office of Aging follows a tradition started years ago by the now late Helen Newsome who served as the local Office of Aging Director.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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