Forsyth honored Glover Stuart on Monday by naming the American Legion Building on West Main Street after him and unveiling the plaque on the iconic log building that bears Stuart’s name. Stuart has volunteered with many community organizations, including the American Legion, working to make his community a better place for decades.
The city held a reception for him at the renovated American Legion building with many of his family members attending as well as representatives of city and county government, Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, Monroe County Board of Education, Gideon’s and Forsyth Lions Club.
“Thank you for being here to celebrate this very special day,” said Mayor Eric Wilson. “This is one of the most selfless people I know.”
Stuart, representing American Legion Post 34, came to Forsyth city council in March 2016 and offered to deed the building back to the city because membership and resources had declined, and the Post was not able to do repairs and maintenance that the building needed. The city accepted, put a new roof on the building in 2017 and completed extensive renovations in 2018-19. The city pledged to honor the building’s tradition of respect for veterans.
The building also holds sentimental value for much of the community as the place where school dances, family and class reunions, birthday parties, graduation parties, weddings and other celebrations have been held over the years.
“Almost everybody in the community has a memory of the American Legion Hall,” said Wilson. “Hopefully we will see it used for many years in the future.”
Stuart spent countless hours taking care of the building as part of his duties with the Legion. His grandson, Nathan Jackson, said the building reminds him of Stuart because of what an important part of the community it has always been. He said when he was a kid it seemed like he was always in the building with his grandfather as he was working on it.
It is designated as the Thomas Hollis American Legion Post, and Wilson emphasized that the city is not removing any name that is already on the Post. Rather, the city is adding Stuart’s name to the building. The city changed its policy about naming city property a few months ago so that it could honor Stuart at the American Legion Hall. The previous policy required that someone be deceased at least five years before the city named something.
The American Legion Hall at 350 West Main Street was built by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) under President Franklin Roosevelt and dedicated in 1934. Stuart served in the Korean War, shipping out to Korea on his 23rd birthday, Feb. 29, 1951 and was wounded twice.
“It has served our community well,” said Stuart of the American Legion Hall. “Our kids in school didn’t have another place to go for a dance or whatever. We tried to keep it in the best state we could. I’m proud to be a part to it.”
Stuart has also served the community well as a member/volunteer of Gideon’s, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity, Exchange Club, Kiwanis Club, First Baptist Church Forsyth and a volunteer in various aspects for Monroe County Board of Education and Chamber of Commerce. He has volunteered for Meals on Wheels and was recognized in March 2017 for 50 years of service to the Monroe County Democratic Party. The Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce named Stuart Citizen of the Year in January 2018.
Wilson said Jackson said his grandfather has always told him that ‘It’s easier to make more money, but your time is your most valuable possession. You put your time in the things you care about.’
Stuart has lived 91 years, but since he was born on the Feb. 29 leap year day he has had only a quarter of that many birthdays. His appearance and attitude reflect that youthful age.