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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

United Way organizer's gifts continue giving

Friday, January 21, 2011

See our United Way of Bedford County tabloid in today's print edition.

Bob Green poses with his daughter Erin at her graduation in 1998, the same year of his passing.
(Submitted photo)
The late Bob Green was Chamber of Commerce executive director for only a few years, from 1989 to 1993, but he left a legacy that continues today, according to his wife Donna.

Green died in 1998. During his term at the chamber, he played a role in chartering United Way of Bedford County, the Extended School Program (now known as the School-Age Care Program), a Salvation Army service unit which has since become inactive and the Keep Bedford Beautiful program, which became inactive as a KBB affiliate but which led to ongoing beautification efforts.

"His impact has stayed and has endured," said Donna Green.

Green, a native of West Virginia who played high school basketball alongside future NBA legend Jerry West, spent 15 years in the non-profit world, working for the Georgia Easter Seal Society, the United Cerebral Associations, United Cerebral Palsy of Central Florida and the Kidney Foundation of Georgia between 1965 and 1980.

It was soon after that, while he owned and operated his own restaurant in Georgia, that Bob met and married Donna. He worked for Kansas-based Multi Service Corporation and then joined National Pen and Pencil Company in Shelbyville in 1985. He returned to Multi Service Corp. before becoming chamber director in 1989.

Green heard comments from chamber members about a surplus of fund-raising appeals and the need for a consolidated giving program. That led him to organize informational meetings about the formation of a United Way group in Bedford County.

He was a key figure in chartering United Way of Bedford County, bringing in representatives of United Way of Middle Tennessee to help advise the local group on launching its own United Way program in 1990. Green also served on United Way of Bedford County's founding board of directors and was campaign co-chair for the program's first year.

While at the chamber, she said, he was responsible for helping set up the local hotel-motel tax as a funding source for local tourism and industrial development, insulating it to some extent from political forces. Paramount Packaging and the Best Western Celebration Inn were among the developments during his tenure.

Donna Green said there's barely a week that goes by that she doesn't see some mention of programs Bob was responsible for launching.

She said her husband took a straightforward approach to problems, and that sometimes rubbed people the wrong way.

"He wasn't one of the good ol' boys," she said.

After leaving the chamber, Green worked for Universal Technologies in Estill Springs. Even then, he was giving back, said Donna. She has a clipping thanking Green for bringing a display including a missile wing to a career day at Farrar Elementary in Tullahoma. All of the children made paper airplanes as part of the program.

"His whole direction and focus was on making life better for people," said Donna. "He just saw the bigger picture."

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