02/12/06 — Volunteers lauded at annual Clergy Appreciation Day event

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Volunteers lauded at annual Clergy Appreciation Day event

By Linda Luck
Published in News on February 12, 2006 2:09 AM

Nourishment for the body and the soul was on the menu at the Goldsboro Civitan Club's Clergy Appreciation Day luncheon on Friday at Ryan's Family Steakhouse.

Ministers were invited for free lunches and words of appreciation, as they have been every year since Civitan International began Clergy Appreciation Week in the mid 1960s.

Simon Jessee, a member of the local club, reminded those attending of the four chaplains whose memory the annual event is held.

The story was printed on an insert in the program: "During World War II, On Feb. 3, 1943, a troop transport was torpedoed and sunk in the waters off Greenland. The ship sank, taking 675 men to a watery grave. Four chaplains, Alexander D. Goode, John P. Washington, George L. Fox and Clark V. Poling, went down with the ship because they gave their life jackets to soldiers. With utter disregard for themselves, they stood hand-in-hand, praying as the ship went down."

Jessee said the story has special significance for the Goldsboro club because Goode was stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB for brief time.

"No one can add commentary to the story," said Lt. Col. Steward Smith, head chaplain at Seymour Johnson AFB, "As we realize the depth of their love for their fellow man and God, and the sacrifice they made, we can only remember and learn from their example."

Smith expressed his appreciation to the Civitans for inviting him to speak at the luncheon, and to the pastors for their support of the base and contributions to the community.

He talked about the importance of volunteers, and pointed out that much of the good in the world is accomplished by those who volunteer.

Smith mentioned several volunteers who had a positive influence on his life. He also mentioned the importance of volunteers in keeping the base running smoothly, and thanked those who voluntarily support the military.

"It is most important," Smith said, "that we remember Someone who voluntarily laid down His life for us that we might have eternal life. That seed, planted by God, is expressed through the volunteer spirit of giving and sacrifice."

The spirit of giving was evident throughout the meeting on Friday, which ended with gifts of flowers, balloons and candy to those attending.

"It is nice to be appreciated," said Fred Clarke, pastor of the First Christian Church.

Clarke pointed out that it is especially thoughtful for the Civitans, who do so many good deeds, to take time out to thank others who also serve.