Carter County’s American Legion post gains new Commander

The Watauga post for the American Legion has a new Commander, who hopes to utilize his new position to make positive changes for both the Legion and the community it serves.

Kelly Greene had served as Commander of the Honor Guard in Carter County for a while, but only served tangentially in the Legion due to his ineligibility to join.

With President Trump signing the LEGION Act into law at the end of July, suddenly his prospects changed.

“This opens the door for a lot of veterans,” Greene said.

Originally, the Legion only accepted membership for veterans who served before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The bill essentially counts the Cold War onward as war-time.

“I was the first new member after the bill,” he said.

Not long after gaining membership, Greene received nomination to become Commander, and the decision was voted in favor unanimously.

“It is an honor,” Greene said. “I want the community to be proud of having a Legion post here.”

Greene has only been Commander for less than a month, but he interacts with his fellow members like he has known them for decades, trading jabs and good-natured fun as they work to expand their reach and recognition. One of their goals is the building itself.

Located at 111 South Watauga Avenue, Greene said he wants to restore the former community center to its original purpose.

“We are already working to bring the building back up,” he said. “I would like to see this place become full of people, volunteers and auxiliary (spouses).”

He said the post’s goal, at the end of the day, is about serving veterans in need in Carter County and promoting the spirit of “American-ism.”

“It is a brotherhood like none other,” Greene said. “When I get voted out, everyone will say I was the best Commander we ever had.”

He said veterans and auxiliary who are interested in joining can stop by the post or call Greene at 423-895-3819. Membership is $40 a year.

“There should be no veteran in Carter County going without,” Greene said.

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