Avery Commissioners Pass Operation Green Light Resolution Honoring Military Personnel and Proclamation Declaring November 8 as United States Capitol Christmas Tree Day in the County

By Tim Gardner

During their regular monthly meeting Oct. 3 in the Newland County Administration Building, the Avery Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to honor veterans through the Operation Green Light program and a proclamation designating Tuesday, the 8 November as the day of the Christmas tree from the United States Capitol to the county.

The resolution and proclamation were approved unanimously (5-0) by the Board of Commissioners which includes: Martha Hicks, Chair; Tim Phillips, Vice President; Blake Vance; Dennis Aldridge; and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr.

Operation Green Light aims to empower and connect counties and future veterans and their families through a coordinated and cohesive transition process. The program improves resettlement outcomes and reduces stress for new veterans and their families as they prepare for and settle into selected destination communities.

To support military veterans statewide and across the country, 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) to endorse Operation Green Light.

NCACC is a nonpartisan organization that serves as the official voice for all 100 counties in the state on matters considered by its General Assembly, the United States Congress, and other federal and state agencies. More than 600,000 military veterans reside in North Carolina, and Operation Green Light illuminates their service and sacrifice.

For Operation Green Light, Avery Commissioners are patriotically encouraging county citizens to recognize the importance of honoring all those who have made zenithal sacrifices to preserve freedom by displaying a green light in a window of their place of work or residence throughout the month of October and across the United States. Veterans Day on Friday, November 11.

The resolution for such full reads:

WHEREAS the residents of Avery County have great respect, admiration and utmost gratitude for all 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 have served in the Armed Forces have been essential to maintaining the freedoms and way of life enjoyed by our citizens; and

WHEREAS, Avery County seeks to honor those individuals who have paid a heavy price for freedom by putting 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, church groups, public service, and by serving as County Veterans Service Officers in 29 states to assist others former service members access more than $52 billion in federal health, disability and compensation benefits each year; and

WHEREAS, approximately 200,000 military members transition to civilian communities each year; and

WHEREAS, an estimated 20% increase in the number of military personnel will transition to civilian life in the near future; and

WHEREAS studies indicate that 44-72% of military members experience high levels of stress when transitioning from military to civilian life; and

WHEREAS active military service members who leave military service are at high risk of suicide within their first year after military service; and

WHEREAS the National Counties Association 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 that specific recognition should be given; so, whether

RESOLVED, with the Veterans Go-ahead designation, Avery County hereby declares October Veterans Day, November 11, 2022, a time to salute and honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform transitioning from active duty; so let it be further

RESOLVED, that in observance of Operation Green Light, Avery County encourages its citizens in the patriotic tradition to recognize the importance of honoring all those who have made immeasurable sacrifices to preserve freedom by displaying a green light in a window of their place of business or residence.

November 8 is designated as United States Capitol Christmas Tree Day in Avery because that’s when a huge red Christmas tree from the Pisgah National Forest will come to a halt in the county en route to the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

The Avery County United States Capitol Christmas Tree Day proclamation reads:

WHEREAS, The United States Capitol Christmas Tree is a 50-year tradition in which one of our 154 National Forests provides the tree and;

WHEREAS, The United States Capitol Christmas Tree is a 78-foot-tall red spruce that was selected from the Pisgah National Forest, and;

WHEREAS, the tree will travel from the Pisgah National Forest to the West Lawn of the United States 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 United States Capitol Christmas Tree, and;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Avery County Commissioners hereby proclaim November 8, 2022 United States Capitol Christmas Tree Day.

In other cases, Commissioners:

*Received a report that $1,984,199.31 was collected in county taxes as of September 2022.

* Announcement that the Sheriff’s Department has received a $6,000.00 grant from the High Country Charitable Foundation to help fund the expenses of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.

* Unanimously passed an amendment to pay for new addressing software from emergency 911 funds. The measure had already been approved as a budget amendment last year and fifty (50) percent was paid until the upgrade can be completed. $6,427.50 was applied to the balance owing, according to County Executive Phillip Barrier, Jr.

The next meeting of the Avery Board of Commissioners will be Monday, October 17 in the County Administration Building at 3:30 p.m.

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