Banner Staff Writer
More than a week after the flames died down from the remains of the World Trade Center, a fire remained in Courtney Moore’s chest.
The Cleveland native did not feel right.
America was attacked on her own soil. His country was terrified. His family was tense.
The changes made him angry and he determined it was time to take action.
Moore became a member of the U.S. Army Reserve on Oct. 2, 2001.
He has since served 13 years in military service, six of which have found him either deployed overseas or mobilized stateside.
His most recent assignment was at Fort Knox. He showed up for duty in August 2012, and returned to Cleveland in July 2013. His job search was more difficult than he anticipated.
He received at least 50 rejection letters.
“A lot of people do not want to hire vets and reservists,” Moore said. “That is the mindset of a lot of people. It’s the law that [reservists] are supposed to have some kind of protection or a chance. But then again, in the back corners of the back rooms, they realize how much [potential time military reservists spend away].”
Some of the rejection letters thanked him for his interest before informing him another candidate had been chosen. Others said he was not equipped for the job. Both hit Moore close to home.
“[Reservists and vets] can learn anything. Just show me. Teach me. I will learn it. That is what we have to do [in the military],” he said. “We have to learn new things. I didn’t know how to jump out of an airplane. I didn’t know how to speak Arabic.”
The latter was on-the-job training while training Iraqi police officers during his 2008-09 tour.
The soldiers are definitely not interested in a handout.
“We just are asking for a chance. When we get that chance, people will be surprised by what somebody in a military background can bring to the table, whether it is being on time or the ability to make decisions on their feet.”
A break arrived in the form of an in-person job interview with Cormetech. Moore said he could not believe his ears. A company finally looked beyond his resume to meet him face-to-face.
“I just wanted a chance,” he recalled. “Just look me in the eye. Let me tell you what I can bring to the table. Let me tell you what I can offer.”
Added Moore, “Give me 90 days. If it doesn’t work out, I will shake your hand.”
Cormetech hired him to work in the shipping and receiving department. The company has been flexible about his once-a-month weekend training with the Army Reserve. Moore was so thankful he nominated the company for the prestigious 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
Now the “Warrior Citizen” of 13 years has the best of both worlds — a job at a company he respects and the opportunity to serve his country.
His wife, Sherri, and their two sons, Andre and Alex, supported him through the years as he sacrificed time with his family to protect the country.
“I missed six years of both of my boys’ lives,” Moore said. “That all falls back to my wife. She had to step up and fulfill both roles while I was gone. It was hard on her. I’ve told her no matter what medals I’ve gotten or anything, [she] deserves more.”
Added Moore, “My job is pretty easy compared to [hers]. Yeah, I got shot at, but [she] had to raise two boys by herself.”
Eighteen weeks of training followed Moore’s recruitment into the Army. He was assigned his first station at Fort Campbell, Ky., as a member of the Military Police in December 2002.
He protected and served the fort’s community in the absence of the deployed soldiers. The “Warrior Citizen” took on the new mantle of responsibility for two years.
“I knew what their mission was. I knew what their job was. For me to step into that role, I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t want to let the unit down,” Moore said. “We don’t want to let the families down.”
He returned to his job as a loan officer once he returned to Cleveland.
Almost two years later, Moore volunteered to provide MP support at Fort Eustis for a year. He referred to the fort as the Army’s “best kept secret,” as it is only 15 minutes from Virginia Beach. His family joined him during his sons’ summer school break.
Upon his return to Cleveland, Moore worked at the Juvenile Detention Center. He said it was personally rewarding. It allowed him to work in a mentor-like role with troubled youth. He also appreciated the “good people” who worked in the court system.
In 2008, Moore was deployed to Iraq for a year. While the experience was trying, the challenges ultimately strengthened him. Upon his return, he accepted a job serving papers for lawyers in the area. The job allowed him to acclimate to civilian life once again.
The years from 2009 to 2011 allowed Moore a chance to be with his family. He made progress on his “Honey do” list while watching his boys grow toward manhood. He enjoyed the quality time he had with his loved ones in his hometown.
His last two assignments saw him in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012 and at Fort Knox from August 2012 until July 2013.
Moore never thought he would be called into active service as much as has been in the last 13 years. He said he has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to serve and instruct in the Military Police while protecting his loved ones and country.
He just asks employers to reconsider a quick decision on a veteran or reservist without an in-person interview.
“That is just the way I feel. I am sure people can say different. I mean, that is the beauty of it,” Moore smiled. “That is why [soldiers] do what we do, so everyone can have an opinion.”