U.S. Marine recognized as the local Veteran of the Year
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A Grayling veteran whose family has a long heritage in the military was recently recognized for his service.
Steve Green was selected as the American Legion Post #106 Auxiliary’s Veteran of the Year at a ceremony held on Veterans Day Saturday, Nov. 11.
A native of Traverse City, Green enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served from 1972 to 1974. He took the initiative to join the military because he would have been drafted.
“It was the Vietnam era, but I didn’t go to Vietnam,” Green said “I stayed in the United States.”
Green attended college and worked at some jobs in Traverse City. In 1982, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve, based out of Traverse City, and then transferred to the Michigan National Guard, serving at Camp Grayling. Green had a connection with Lee Lawson, who served as a facility engineer at Camp Grayling.
Green served as the fire chief for the Camp Grayling fire department for a dozen years, when he was on active duty from the spring through the fall. During the remainder of the year, he worked for a defense contractor, testing self-guided weapons systems at Camp Grayling.
“It was a pretty big deal back then,” Green said. “When Desert Storm happened, all the money went away, so they quit coming up.”
Green moved to Grayling in 1990.
“I liked the area,” he said. “It is much smaller than Traverse City.”
Green retired from the Michigan National Guard in 2008, but still holds a job at Camp Grayling as storekeeper in a warehouse, providing materials to plumbers and electricians doing work at the base.
Green’s father, Francis, served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. His mother, Jane, worked at the Willow Run plant in Detroit, where thousands of B-24 Liberator bomber aircraft were built.
“She was like a Rosie the Riveter,” he said.
Green’s brother, Chuck, served in the U.S. Army in the early 1960s. His other brother, Ron, served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam.
“We love America and we like where we live, so we defend it,” Green said. “It’s the way it is. We have always been a patriotic family.”
Green’s commitment to the U.S. Marine Corps was cut short when his father passed away.
“I loved the Marine Corps,” he said. “I wish I would have stayed in it.”
A past post commander, Green currently serves as the sergeant at arms for the American Legion Post #106.
The American Legion’s national charter was founded in 1919, and the American Legion Post #106 was founded shortly thereafter in 1922.
“Back then, there wasn’t many places for people to go,” Green said. “It’s always been here for the community.”
The American Legion has 150 members, and just over a dozen who are active in the organization.
The Legion hosts a breakfast on the first Sunday of every month to raise funds for veteran causes it supports.
The Legion also hosts fundraisers for the Fourth of July and for the AuSable River Canoe Marathon and Festival.
“We just try to do things to help the Grayling area, and Grayling veterans,” Green said.
The Legion’s hall is available for rentals for events and fundraisers, and is often used for luncheons and dinners following veterans’ funerals.
“We’ve got to take care of the veterans, whatever way we can,” Green said.
Green has been married to his wife, Mary Stewart Green, who is also active in the organization, for two years.
“She’s real supportive of what we do,” Green said.
Green said he was honored to be recognized as the Veteran of the Year.
“You never think you do enough,” he said. “It’s nice to be recognized and getting appreciated for what you do. It made me feel good.”