'A real gentleman'

Glenn Green represented South Dakota on The American Legion National Executive Committee for three decades. He served on various committees and commissions during his 65 years of Legion membership, which came to an end when he passed away at age 89 in March.

And yet while his contributions to the organization were heralded by fellow Legionnaires, it was the man who Green was that stood out to many of his oldest friends within the organization.

“He was what you would call a real gentleman, and he was like that to everyone who knew him,” Department of New York Adjutant Richard Pedro said. “He was very active in the organization. He was a very good Legionnaire. And he was quiet, yet very assured. You knew when he said something that he meant what he said.”

Green, a World War II Army veteran, served as Department of South Dakota commander from 1957 to 1958 and moved over to a spot on the National Executive Committee as an alternate a year later.

Past National Commander Michael Kogutek developed a friendship with Green that spanned six decades. Kogutek said that Green put the interests of the national organization ahead of any personal interests.

“He was really a team player, and he put that above any individual aspirations he may have had,” Kogutek said. “He was a very effective leader, especially in his department, and I think that still carries on today. And when he said something, you really knew he believed in what he said. He could convey that very effectively.”

Despite a huge geographical gap, PNC Jake Comer also developed a strong relationship with Green.

“He was one of two people – Glenn and (Past National Commander) Joe Matthews – who approached me about running for national commander,” Comer said. “It’s kind of funny that for me, coming from Boston, two of my biggest mentors came from South Dakota and Texas. They both saw something in me.”

Comer also called Green a “real gentleman” and said his was a very trusted voice within the Legion. “His word was his bond,” Comer said. “When he submitted someone from his department for a national appointment, you didn’t need to check that person’s résumé.”

Iowa Legionnaire Ken Danilson, chairman of the Legion’s National Finance Commission, knew Green for 25 years. “He was one of the mentors I got once I got to the national level because I was from the Midwest,” Danilson said. “He was truly a gentlemen – a quiet gentleman – and he was one of the guys who took the young guys aside and gave them some good advice. I really appreciated the counsel he gave me.”