02/12/12 — Continental Society celebrates 50 years of service

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Continental Society celebrates 50 years of service

By Kelly Corbett
Published in News on February 12, 2012 1:50 AM

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Victoria Ruffin, right, directs The Continental Children's Community Choir Saturday at the Goldsboro Chapter Continental Society's 50th anniversary celebration at the H.V. Brown Center.

The women of the Goldsboro Chapter Continental Society wore red suits and dresses, to signify their love of children as they commemorated 50 years of service at an anniversary celebration held Saturday afternoon.

Chairwoman Comatha Johnson said the colors representing the Continentals are red, white and green. Green represents the fertility and growth of the organization, while white represents the purity of their cause of service.

Vernal Best has been a member of the Continentals for 49 years and is one of 21 current members who work with the underprivileged youth of Wayne and Duplin counties.

"I felt like I could make a contribution to those that needed help," she said. "I've seen so much progress with the organization, I just desired to stay."

Gertrude Cox organized the Goldsboro chapter in 1961 with 12 members. It was chartered in 1962.

"We're grateful for the opportunity to have served thousands of children for the past 50 years," Ms. Johnson said.

Ms. Johnson's daughter, Jayna Johnson, now 28, was crowned Continental Queen when she was 6 years old.

The reigning Continental Queen, Miss Destiny Isler, came before the crowd of around 180 people, in her crown and red cloak before awards were given to charter members and to the Goldsboro chapter for their dedication and service.

The Continental Children's Community Choir provided musical entertainment for the event, performing a variety of songs, including "How Great is Our God?" and "Hold On."

President Patricia Stokes said she is blessed to still have two active charter members as part of the Continentals, Minnie Carney and Manetta Stovall, who were unable to attend the event but were recognized by many of the speakers.

Mayor Al King gave a short speech expressing his gratitude for the society and all of their contributions over the years.

"It takes leadership to be successful in whatever you do," he said. "I know you are determined, because you are successful."

National Continental Society President Florence Blount also attended the in honor of the milestone.

"We are very proud of the Goldsboro chapter," she said.

She said the Goldsboro chapter is the fifth of 45 chapters to be recognized for 50 or more years of service. The chapters are in 17 states, the District of Columbia and Bermuda.

"Children are who we serve," Ms. Blount said. "We love children."

The Continentals are known in the community for their work with scholarship programs, the Empty Stocking Fund, and their annual pageant, which serves as a fundraiser.

"All of these things are what we do to enhance the lives of children," Ms. Johnson said.

The Five-Point Programmatic Thrust, initiated nationally, focuses on health, education, employment, recreation and arts and humanities. The members plan to attend the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in March.

"I would like to thank the community -- Wayne and Duplin -- for all of the support they have given us over the past 50 years," Ms. Stokes said.