By Tim Gardner
During their regular monthly meeting on October 3rd in the County Administration Building in Newland, the Avery Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution to honor military veterans through the Operation Green Light program and a proclamation designating Tuesday, November 8th as United States Capitol Christmas Tree Day in the county.
The resolution and proclamation were unanimously approved (5-0) by the Board of Commissioners who include: Martha Hicks, Chairwoman; Tim Phillips, Vice-Chairman; Blake Vance; Dennis Aldridge; and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr.
Operation Green Light seeks to empower and connect counties and soon-to-be new veterans and their families through a coordinated and cohesive transition process. The program improves relocation outcomes and reduces the stress for new veterans and their families as they prepare for, and move into, their selected destination communities.
In support of military veterans statewide and across the nation, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) joins the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO) in endorsing Operation Green Light.
The NCACC is a non-partisan organization that serves as the official voice of all of the state’s 100 counties about issues considered by its General Assembly, United States Congress and other federal and state agencies. More than 600,00 military veterans reside in North Carolina and Operation Green Light illuminates their service and sacrifices.
For Operation Green Light, Avery’s commissioners encourage the county’s citizens in patriotic manner to acknowledge the importance of honoring all those who made zenith sacrifices to preserve freedom by displaying a green light in a window at their place of business or residence throughout October and through United States Veterans Day on Friday, November 11th.
The resolution for such reads in full:
WHEREAS, the residents of Avery County have great respect, admiration, and the utmost gratitude for all of the men and women who have selflessly served our country and this community in the Armed Forces; and
WHEREAS, the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women who served in the Armed Forces have been vital in maintaining the freedoms and way of life enjoyed by our citizens; and
WHEREAS, Avery County seeks to honor these individuals who have paid the high price for freedom by placing themselves in harm’s way for the good of all; and
WHEREAS, Veterans continue to serve our community in the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, religious groups, civil service, and by functioning as County Veteran Service Officers in 29 states to help fellow former service members access more than $52 billion in federal health, disability and compensation benefits each year; and
WHEREAS, approximately 200,000 service members transition to civilian communities annually; and
WHEREAS, an estimated 20 percent increase of service members will transition to civilian life in the near future; and
WHEREAS, studies indicate that 44-72 percent of service members experience high levels of stress during transition from military to civilian life; and
WHEREAS, Active Military Service Members transitioning from military service are at a high risk for suicide during their first year after military service; and
WHEREAS, the National Association of Counties encourages all counties, parishes and boroughs to recognize Operation Green Light for Veterans; and
WHEREAS, Avery County appreciates the sacrifices of our United States Military Personnel and believes specific recognition should be granted; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, with designation as a Green Light for Veterans, Avery County hereby declares from October through Veterans Day, November 11th 2022 a time to salute and honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform transitioning from Active Service; therefore, be it further
RESOLVED, that in observance of Operation Green Light, Avery County encourages its citizens in patriotic tradition to recognize the importance of honoring all those who made immeasurable sacrifices to preserve freedom by displaying a green light in a window of their place of business or residence.
November 8th is designated as United States Capitol Christmas Tree Day in Avery as that’s when a massive Red Spruce Christmas tree taken from the Pisgah National Forest will make a stop in the county on its way to the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Avery County’s United States Capitol Christmas Tree Day proclamation reads as follows:
WHEREAS, the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is a 50-year tradition in which one of our 154 national forests provides the tree and;
WHEREAS, the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is a 78-foot tall Red Spruce that has been selected from the Pisgah National Forest, and;
WHEREAS, the tree will journey from Pisgah National Forest to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, and;
WHEREAS, the tree will make 14 stops in North Carolina from the mountains to the sea with a stop in Avery County on November 8, 2022, and;
WHEREAS, Avery County is proud to host the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, and;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Avery County Commissioners hereby proclaim November 8, 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Day.
In other business, the commissioners:
*Received a report that $1,984,199.31 were collected in county taxes during September 2022.
*Announced that the Sheriff’s Department was awarded a $6,000.00 grant from the High Country Charitable Foundation to help fund expenses in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.
*Unanimously adopted an amendment to pay for new addressing software out of Emergency 911 funds. The measure was previously approved as a budget amendment last year and fifty (50) percent was paid then until the upgrade could be completed. $6,427.50 has been applied to the balance owed, according to County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.
The next meeting of the Avery Board of Commissioners will be held Monday, October 17th in the County Administration Building at 3:30 p.m.