When Will Moore heard about Hurricane Michael and saw the images on television in his Atlanta home the teenager did what his grandfather would have done.
Moore, who is the grandson of the late Bob Willis, who passed away suddenly last year, set about to help his grandfather’s adopted home.
Not that the 13-year-old had just tons of idle time on his hands, given the multi-sport athlete’s pursuit of achieving Eagle Scout.
But, it was Gulf County, Port St. Joe.
“It’s my favorite place to go,” Moore said last week at the monthly meeting of the Port St. Joe Lions Club, of which Bob Willis was a member. “It was important for me to do this.”
So, Moore set to work on several levels.
He twice helped organize the loading and driving of U-Haul van loads of supplies to Port St. Joe, his scouting friends doing much of the heavy lifting on the loading side.
In addition, he established a GoFund Me page on social media to assist in what ever way that money could be applied.
The amount raised is nearing $10,000.
“(Will) has demonstrated over the last few months a lot of the characteristics Bob had,” said Willie Ramsey, Lions Club president. “(Bob) knew what hard work was. He was very organized.
“Bob was a good guy. You are honoring him in an awesome way.”
As it would turn out, those early trips with supplies would come in mighty handy on the fundraising side of Moore’s efforts.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Michael and its aftermath fell off the national news cycle with remarkable speed.
Moore’s photos of the damage to the place he so enjoyed were eye-opening reminders for his classmates and community.
“The news (of Port St. Joe) doesn’t really get up home,” Moore said. “There wasn’t enough information to know what was going on.”
The Lions Club became something of a conduit to the community for the money Moore raised.
The Lions Club was already a sponsor of a drive to raise money for law enforcement officers displaced by Hurricane Michael.
Seven deputies or officers with the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office or Port St. Joe Police Department have continued to work and serve despite losing homes.
As of last week, the funds had grown to $28,700, not including Moore’s dollars.
“It’s been hard on them staying at work and they have families,” said Sheriff Mike Harrison, noting three of his impacted deputies are back in homes.
“It’s been awesome to share everybody’s generosity. Little things like this … go a long, long ways.”
The Lions Club bestowed a special posthumous honor for lifetime achievement to Willis, providing his widow Charlotte, two daughters, Elizabeth Moore and Julie Hodges, and Will Moore with special plaques.