MooreMart Volunteers Honored Close to Home for their Far-reaching Efforts

August 22, 2014

by Marc Ayotte

Every day of the year MooreMart accepts donations from businesses, individuals and veterans organizations that they package and ship, four times per year, to U.S. soldiers stationed in the Middle East.  Their benevolence to U.S. troops has become a nationwide phenomenon comprised of a vast network of volunteers who send more than 65,000 care packages to destinations half way around the world.  And on Saturday, August 15, in a politically and military, dignitary-filled National Guard Armory in Nashua, MooreMart, as an organization, took time to honor those volunteers that make the whole process possible.

On display in the Armory were hundreds of greeting cards that were part of a contest MooreMart conducted in school districts covering several local towns.  “We decided to put them up and see all the submissions and how much the kids appreciate the soldiers’ sacrifice,” explained volunteer Sharon Zeigler.  The winning card was drawn by a middle school student from Goffstown while the runner-up prize went to a Hudson third grader who attends the Hills Garrison School.

Co-founders of MooreMart, Paul Moore and his sister, Carole Biggio, were joined by numerous New Hampshire politicians including U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jean Shaheen, along with NH State Senator Chuck Morse, Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, and NH Governor Maggie Hassan.  In addition, several military representatives were on hand, including Major General Reddel and Colonel Richard Duncan, who, like the distinguished politicians on hand for the ceremony, shared stories and gave thanks to the efforts of the entire MooreMart family of volunteers.

Nashua Mayor Lozeau, a longtime volunteer for MooreMart, was the first to speak, and while commending what the local service organization represents on the whole, specifically acknowledged the importance of the volunteer structure by paraphrasing what she referred to as one of her favorite quotes; “volunteers don’t just have more time, they have more heart.”

In Senator Ayotte’s address, she referred to MooreMart as a “New Hampshire treasure,” and a “national model,” for their continued support of U.S. Troops.  “It shows the nation a way we can give back to the soldiers who have defended our freedom,” continued Ayotte.  She also mentioned how, when her husband served in Iraq, it was so important to him to receive one of the care packages with which MooreMart has become symbolic.  Ayotte also commended MooreMart’s humanitarian aid contributions, saying that it plays a prominent role for the children of Iraq, showing the compassion that the United States has to offer.  Senator Ayotte, along with Senator Shaheen, each presented Paul Moore with a Congressional Record Statement, recognizing their support of U.S. soldiers.

Governor Hassan, in her address, said we should all be eternally grateful to the service men and women for what they do, and indicated the critical role that MooreMart plays in the support of their mission.  “It sends a very powerful message of support,” noted Hassan of the organization’s benevolence, via the care packages.  When speaking to the impact that receiving a package has on soldier’s morale, Hassan closed by offering, “They know that there are people at home who haven’t forgotten them.”

A highlight of the ceremony, and also representative of the daily theme, occurred when Paul and Carole Moore presented an annual award to a volunteer, of whom, Paul has referred to as the “backbone of MooreMart.”  Ted Luszey was the recipient of the first award bearing his name; indicative of the countless hours of volunteerism he has given to the organization.  Luszey, in a heartfelt acceptance address, thanked his daughter, Ashley, for her dedication to MooreMart.  He then thanked Deborah, his wife, with an emotional tribute:  “Behind every successful man there is a great woman.”

In closing out the ceremony, Paul Moore addressed the volunteers and special guests, thanking them for their effort through the years.  “You’ve been able to help change an individual’s life, half a world away,” Moore told his valued core of volunteers.  Specifically, Moore addressed the role of local and state politicians in MooreMart’s efforts: “In New Hampshire we have elected officials who, as they say, ‘walk the walk.’ They’re not afraid to roll up the sleeves and work with you.”

Looking forward, Moore believes that the need to continue shipping care packages to the Middle East has “never been greater – with troops asking for essentials (and) the necessities.”  As such, Moore indicated that he is “committed to serve the troops as long as they are in harm’s way.”