Citizen of Year has not wasted a minute

Published 7:35 pm Friday, January 29, 2010

Citizen of Year has not wasted a minute
Howard Greene named for giving lifetime of service
by Jeff Byrd
Howard Greene was still driving patients to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Oteen up to three years ago. Now he is a courier for the St. Lukes Hospital inter-mail system.
“At 90 years old!” Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce president Andy Millard exclaimed in introducing his venerable friend at the chambers annual awards banquet held at Stone Hedge Inn Tuesday.
“Yeah, well, 90 and three quarters,” Greene replied. Hell be 91 in March.
For a lifetime of service, Millard said, Howard Greene was named this year by the chamber to be Carolina Foothills Citizen of the Year, an award the chamber has presented only eight times since the chamber began giving out awards in 1992. (See list of recpients, p. 4)
“I venture to say, Howard could be named Citizen of the Decade, Citizen of the Century,” Millard said.
Howard Greene was born in March, 1919 in Sandy Plains. His father, Archie Greene, farmed about 80 acres on Tryon Rte. 1 growing corn and cotton. He also worked as a carpenter, building most of the older homes in Gillette Woods, working with folks like Holland Brady.
Greenes mother, Bessie, worked as a private duty nurse.
Howard had two sisters: Rowena Matson, who still lives in Sandy Plains, and Connie Walker, who is survived by her husband, Truitt, of Sandy Plains.
Right after finishing up at Green Creek High School, Howard entered the service. He entered before the war, in the first or second draft, and worked at a camp for two and a half years where he trained other men.
“He went in on D-Day plus one,” Millard said, “and fought his way across Europe.”
After the war, Howard married Mary and the newlyweds moved to Tryon. Howard went to work for Avant Electric, once located where Forbes Preschool is today. In 1955, he bought G&K Furniture and Appliance Co. in downtown Columbus. He ran that prominent county business until 1994, when Vince Krydynski bought it.
Greene also served in the Army Reserves, and was called back during the Korean War and Viet Nam. He retired in 1965 with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer, an officer above the senior-most enlisted ranks.
As if all that had not been enough, Howard Greene volunteered. He didnt just volunteer, he knocked volunteerism out of the park.
“He volunteers at St. Lukes Hospital, drives patients to the V.A., delivers meals on Wheels. He has 62 years perfect attendance at Kiwanis,” Millard said, just trying to recall a portion of the list. “He has been a chamber member since 1947. He volunteers for everything still, at 90 years old.
“Howard and Peggy Orr sold over 300 raffle tickets for the barbecue last year,” Millard said. “Peggy said it was hot and sweaty and there he was, selling away.”
Greene explained to a reporter Wednesday the philosophy that has kept him going.
“I hate to see anyone waste a minute of their life. I try to do something all the time.”
He has apparently achieved that goal. He is a 32nd Degree Mason, a Shriner for 50 years, a member of the VFW for 60 years, the Legion since Christmas, 1945.
“I believe we have lived through the best days that will ever be again,” Greene said of his generation. “The Depression days were rough. There wasnt anybody who had any money. It lasted about ten years. Things were so rough on the farm, when I got in the Army it felt like a vacation.”
The Depression was rough, Greene said, “but after that, things got good.” And there was not a minute to waste.

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