Greene: servant with lions heart

Published 5:39 pm Monday, August 2, 2010

Why name a building after Howard Greene? Hes not rich; he didnt pay for the new Department of Human Services building that will bear his name. Hes not famous, or prominent. So what is it about this small 91-year-old that makes everybody love him so much? Its his heart: the heart of a servant wrapped in the heart of a lion.

One of his accomplishments is positively heroic: in 1944-45, he fought his way across Europe, starting on a Normandy beach and ending in Germany. This was miserable, hellish, kill-or-be-killed war. To this day, he has no idea why he survived when so many other fine young men did not. Another impressive accomplishment sits in stark contrast to the first. He joined the Kiwanis Club of Tryon on October 5, 1948, and has maintained perfect attendance ever since. Thats 62 years.

When you consider that record alongside the war record, you begin to understand the essence of the man.

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Howard was a prominent business leader, too. As owner of G&K Appliance in Columbus, he was a fixture of Polk County commerce for decades. Public office? Hes been president, chairman, board member, commander, and/or high chief of more local service organizations than you can shake a stick at.

Rich? Why, sure he is. If its true that the only real wealth we leave behind is the good we have done for others, then Howards as wealthy as they come. Famous? Everybody knows Howard. If you havent met him, give him a call or introduce yourself. Hell be proud to know you.

Howard Belton Greene is Everyman. Hes you and me, only better: more humble, more cheerful, more giving, more appreciative of all the simple gifts of life. Hes a role model, a hero, a genuine treasure. So maybe it makes sense that they would name a building after him. In honoring Howard, they honor the best within us all.

. guest editorial by Andy Millard