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Reservist, attorney embraces "common roots"

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By Robert Villanueva

Among the items that fill the shelves in the Elizabethtown office of attorney Greg Thompson are a Lego display representing “To Kill a Mockingbird,” military headgear and a miniature statue of Abraham Lincoln.

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The items, and others found among the legal books, represent various aspects of Thompson’s life, which started in Flaherty.

“I’m from common roots,” he said, noting he came from a farming family.

When he was young, Thompson’s parents divorced. His lived with his father on a farm where they raised hogs, tobacco and corn.

Joining the U.S. Army Reserve at age 18, Thompson eventually became a colonel and was former battalion commander of the 1/398th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 95th Division out of Owensboro. He also is  an Iraq war veteran.

He is now with the 352nd Civil Affairs Command out of Fort Meade, Maryland.

“I just got 20 good years this year,” he said of his military service.

During his military service Thompson earned the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service medal, among many others.

Early in his military service Thompson drove a jeep for a man who encouraged him to go to college and apply for officer candidate school.

In 1991, Thompson graduated from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.

After a stint working as a corporate lawyer in Louisville, Thompson began practicing law in Elizabethtown, which he felt was more rewarding. His clients sometimes bring vegetables or other food, he said.

Thompson shares an office with his son-in-law, and his daughter, Amber Shreve, is in law school.

“My father's influence did play a role in my decision to pursue law school, and he has been my biggest supporter in that decision,” Shreve said.

Thompson’s opinion and knowledge have helped shape Shreve’s view of jurisprudence and justice, she said. He also instilled a work ethic and perspective that allows her to balance law school and responsibilities as a wife and mother.

“I am honored to call him my father, my role model and a constant motivator in all that I do,” Shreve said.

Thompson’s 11-year-old son created the “To Kill a Mockingbird” Lego display, which depicts Atticus Finch, his children, Scout and Jem, and Boo Radley. It stands on a spot in front of a small framed mini-poster of the movie.

The youngest of his six children, the Lego artist is named Atticus.

The movie and book, Thompson said, is a favorite because it depicts the kind of attorney he believes in and the idea that everyone deserves to be represented.

“We always root for the underdog,” he said of his office.

Thompson also strives to remain active and encourages his children to do the same.

“I’m an avid runner,” he said.

Each week Thompson runs at least 30 miles, he said. He has been running for at least 15 years.

Thompson has run marathons with some of his children, most recently running with Atticus.

“He’s my little running buddy,” Thompson said.

Additionally, Thompson began taking Tae Kwon Do when he started taking Atticus to practice.

“It’s just something me and him could do together,” he said.

Thompson and his son are both black belts.

“When you’ve reached black belt, you’re really just at the beginning,” he said. That level of skill, Thompson explained, just means you are proficient enough to begin putting to use what you’ve learned.

Tae Kwon Do, like his ideals when it comes to law practice, seems to reflect the potential for the little guy to be victorious.

“You learn in Tae Kwon Do it’s not about size, it’s about knowing what you’re doing,” Thompson said.

Part of the attraction to Tae Kwon Do and running, he said, is the social aspect involved. He appreciates the time with his family and also meeting people.

At his office he keeps a Kevlar vest as a conversation piece. And the miniature statue of Abraham Lincoln on his bookshelf, like most the items, holds a special significance.

“Lincoln is my favorite historical figure,” he said.

Mortar shells and other military items also take up shelf space. Under a combat vehicle communication helmet stands a single brick, barely visible.

It is from an old Flaherty school he went to that is no longer there.

“It gives me pleasure to look at that brick,” he said.

Though he was born in Meade County and has traveled the world, Thompson is happy where he is.

“Now I call Hardin County home,” he said.

MORE ABOUT GREG THOMPSON:

Town of birth: Fort Knox

Town of residence: Elizabethtown

Family. Wife, Sunea; six children; five grandchildren

Favorite music: Pop, country

Favorite TV show: “Ninja Warrior”

Favorite movie: “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Favorite books: “To Kill a Mockingbird;” Tom Clancy novels

Hobbies: Running, reading, Tae Kwon Do and spending time with his family

Robert Villanueva can be  reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.

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