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SBP freshman and his family receive surprise meeting with President Barack Obama

December 2016

Accompanying his father to Washington, D.C. earlier this fall to witness the presentation of the President’s Volunteer Service Award would certainly have stood alone as a milestone moment for St. Benedict’s freshman Ammon Moore, Jr.

But the events surrounding the ceremony – planned and unpredicted – made the weekend become an extraordinarily unforgettable experience for this young Gray Bee, whose father, SGM Ammon Moore, Sr., was honored at the White House for exceptional volunteer efforts while stationed in Guantanamo Bay.

SGM Moore served in the National Guard for 24 years. His first deployment came in 2004 during Operation Enduring Freedom when he was stationed in Germany for 16 months on a law and order back-filling mission. He and his fellow Guardsmen took up the responsibilities of a Military Police company that had been deployed to Iraq.

SGM Moore was himself called to serve in Iraq in 2008. His third deployment came several years later, in 2015 – this time to Guantanamo Bay. It was there that he began to volunteer, quite literally going above and beyond the call of duty to serve where needed most. Whether cultivating local gardens, assisting at senior centers and nursing homes, or participating in charity events and sharing his scuba diving skills, Moore embodied the spirit of outstanding volunteerism.

It is remarkable to note that SGM Moore is a Wounded Warrior, having been injured while in service.

For the weekend of the Awards Ceremony, SGM Moore made special plans for an extended stay in the Capitol. The family adventures included target practice at an archery range, tours of the monuments, and a high-flying stint for both father and son in the pilot’s seat of an airplane.

The Ammon family attended the grand opening of the African-American Museum of History and Culture, marveling at the collection of artifacts in the company of such celebrities as Stevie Wonder and Patti LaBelle.

The culminating event, of course, was the tour of the White House and award presentation. SGM Moore was among a group of recipients bestowed the honor, each of whom was recognized as a role model American for making a positive impact as an engaged and deeply committed volunteer.

It was during the group photo that President Obama made his surprise appearance to pose with those model citizens and express his admiration.

Moments later, Ammon Jr. was shaking hands with the President of the United States and telling him that he is a freshman at St. Benedict’s Prep. His father added that his son was a swimmer and on the water polo team. Upon “coining” the President, a gesture in which Moore Jr. presented him a coin showing his father’s rank, President Obama coined him right back.

That one-of-a-kind coin bearing the Presidential seal and an image of the White House is something to cherish.

“I’ll be saving it in a special place,” promised Moore Jr.

Still savoring the memory of that weekend and humbled by the recognition he received, the elder Moore states, “It was an outstanding moment. I was glad to share it with my wife and son.”

--Susan Kronberg
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