Jon Moore was raised in a typical Red Oak, Iowa household. His father, an electrician, was also a radio instructor during WWII. Moore and his younger brother grew up in town, and when they weren’t in the community pool a few blocks from their house, you could find them playing sandlot baseball or football.
After graduating from high school in 1962, Moore embarked on a six-year academic journey at Northwest MO State, where he struggled to find his path. He started in business before moving to psychology and ending in history and geography. He stated, “I had been in college for six years, and I goofed around too long and knew they were going to draft me, so I joined the Navy.” His rationale for enlisting was straightforward: “In the Army, you sleep in the mud, carried a gun, and get shot at all the time. In the Navy and Air Force, you don’t do that. You have a warm meal and a warm place to sleep.”
His military journey started at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Chicago, where he underwent boot camp training. Post-boot camp, Moore was dispatched to Philadelphia, where he worked as a Hospital Corpsman (HC) in a hospital ward caring for soldiers wounded in Vietnam. According to Navy Medicine, corpsmen directly support Navy and Marine Corps commands, squadrons, battalions, and units, providing the best care the nation can offer ashore and afloat. Moore, assuming responsibilities similar to those of an LPN, received on-the-job training. He candidly shared, “I worked on the proctology ward, where the guys would come after being shot in the gut and had holes in their intestines. So we did a lot of closures and things like that.” Even though he was never on the battlefield himself, the challenging experiences that he had and witnessed while caring for wounded soldiers were things that he preferred not to elaborate on. Moore concluded, “I basically had an 8 to 4:30 job and occasionally worked on weekends. You just do your job.”
After enduring eight months in Pennsylvania, Moore’s next chapter involved attending school to specialize in X-ray procedures. Following this training, he was stationed in Key West, Florida, for four years, contributing to the Naval hospital team as an X-ray tech. Notably, Moore proudly talked about how he was part of a talented naval football team, and in 1972 and 1973, they were the district champions, and he was their center. Reflecting on his timeline in Key West, Moore remarked, “I had it made there! I got there in July of 70, and it was in March of 74 I got out.” Moore spent a total of six years serving our country.
Following his honorable discharge, Moore described how he felt burnt out from the medical field. Seeking a change, he relocated near a friend in Colorado, where he worked seasonally chopping firewood for campers at Rocky Mountain National Park. Although unconventional, Moore did this for three years and explained, “I finally ran out of money and had to get a real job.”
Returning to Red Oak Moore worked full-time at a greenhouse specializing in potting soil production. Amusingly, he quipped, “I’m older than dirt because I used to make dirt. That was my job doing the soil testing, making the soil and bagging and boxing up and selling it.” Moore adapted to various roles as needed, dedicating a decade before taking a job running the Elks Lodge for the next four years.
Eventually, Moore left Iowa to relocate to Branson, MO, to be with his brother. He took on a series of odd jobs, including working on duck boats, before securing a position in hotel maintenance. His journey within the hospitality sector continued as he transitioned to the front desk. After dedicating five years to the hotel, Moore explored catering and restaurant industry opportunities. However, when his brother and mother faced health challenges, Moore assumed the role of their full-time caregiver.
Remaining unmarried, Moore takes pride in being the uncle of three nieces and three nephews. Following his mother’s passing in 2010, he continued to fulfill the role of caregiver for his brother, emphasizing, “We kind of take care of each other.”
In 2013, Moore confronted some health challenges of his own, undergoing a triple bypass and subsequently grappling with shingles that affected the nerves in his chest, causing constant pain. Moore described, “The pain can get so bad some days it brings me to my knees.” His health journey continued in 2020 when he faced colon cancer. Last year, cancer reappeared in his lung and liver, for which he is currently receiving chemotherapy. Despite these adversities, Moore maintains a laid-back and positive attitude, expressing, “Well, I am not dead yet. I am doin’ ok.”
Acknowledging the support he receives, Moore shared, “I get help from the VA, and I didn’t even know I qualified for that. They (VCC) called me and it helps a lot. A caregiver comes in a few times a week and keeps us in order.” Emphasizing the substantial impact of this assistance, Moore stressed, “It has been a big help. Tremendously helpful. Otherwise, we would not be in real good shape.”
When questioned about the most significant lesson he gained from his military service, Moore highlighted how his Navy experience contributed to his education. He emphasized, “Anything you know will never hurt ya, and I am a collector of knowledge.”
Veterans Care Coordination is proud to recognize Jon Moore for his service to our country. We are privileged to have the opportunity to share the stories of our nation’s heroes. Thank you for your service, Jon, and welcome home.