Portrait of Greene unveiled at DSS building

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Howard Greene (right) with Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson stand in front of the portrait of Greene in his early U.S. Army years that was unveiled at the new DSS building during an open house Monday, March 19. The portrait was painted by local artist Richard Baker. (photo by Leah Justice)

More than 100 attend open house
Howard B. Greene was honored Monday, March 19 with a portrait that now hangs in the lobby of the new Polk County Human Services building in Mill Spring, which houses the county’s department of social services (DSS).
The new building is named the Howard B. Greene Human Services building after Greene,  93, who is a WWII veteran and has spent many years volunteering in Polk County.
The open house drew more than 100 people, with the portrait unveiling kicking off the event. Richard Baker was hired by the county to paint the portrait, which depicts Greene in his early U.S. Army years.
Greene retired from the Army Reserves in 1965 as a chief warrant officer 4. His service awards include a bronze star, a purple heart and a combat infantry badge. Greene also received the Polk County Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 2009.
Greene said he appreciates all the work that went into the new building, as a new DSS facility was a great need in the county. He said he couldn’t believe it when the county wanted to name the building after him.
The DSS building opened in December 2011. County officials had discussed for many years the need to move DSS and other services out of the Jervey Palmer building in Tryon, where they had been located for almost 40 years. The Jervey Palmer building was initially built as the first St. Luke’s Hospital.
DSS director Lou Parton said the dedication Monday was a “beautiful day to celebrate” and “a long-awaited event.”
Parton has worked with Polk County DSS for 25 years. She said when she first began working at the Jervey Palmer building, she remembers Becky Rome telling her it would be temporary because DSS would have a new home in a few years.
Parton thanked former DSS director Sue Rhodes, who retired last year, for her “dream and vision.”

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