Everyday Hero: Bill Moriarty

VAN BUREN, MO (KFVS) - What makes a home?

For many, it's where you grew up or maybe where you started a family of your own.

But Bill Moriarty found his home in his late 60's.

Van Buren, Missouri has a population of 819.

It's a small town with a big heart.

And Bill is one thing that keeps it beating.

Bill Moriarty moved to Van Buren, Missouri in September of 2002 at the request of his wife.

"And one day she said have you ever considered moving here? And I said I can be packed in about an hour," said Bill.

She was coming home, bringing with her a man who would later prove to be a huge asset to Carter County.

He quickly adopted the quaint community as his own now calling himself a native.

"In all of Carter County there's not a single traffic light," Bill said. "People wave at you on the road. You go across a one way bridge and people don't try to beat you across the bridge. There's a community spirit here that I really enjoy. You don't see it anywhere else."

At 66, he could have easily stuck to the original plan and just retired, spending days fishing.

But instead he got involved.

It was a chance encounter that led him, "to help assist veterans to get into the VA program," according to Bill. "It's very intimidating and time consuming for an individual to go down to the hospital and you wait and sometimes you're successful and sometimes you're not."

But that appointment at his local VFW was a jumping off point for all Bill now does.

It evolved into one of his greatest passions, along with helping at the Carter County Nutrition Center and Food Bank.

"And Jimmy says here never trust a skinny cook," Bill joked.

The nutrition center feeds hundreds every week and delivers meals to people who are homebound.

"You have to have a compassionate person who understands hey these people need a hand, not a hand out and that's what they're getting," said Bill.

But that's not the only place he lends a hand.

He also works with the University of Missouri Extension, goes to local schools to educate students about the dangers of drugs and even responds to natural disasters.

He credits time in the Marine Corps with his ability to react and do so with a plan of action already in mind.

"It's the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and it was awarded by a Vietnamese unit for doing what they needed done," Bill explained.

It seems that's what Bill has dedicated his life to, whether intentional or not.

Doing what other people need to have done.

If you know of an Everyday Hero in your life, please let us know.

Just click here to make your nomination.

We'll profile an Everyday Hero each month on Heartland News and all of our heroes will be honored at the annual Red Cross recognition luncheon.