Remembering ‘Big Mike’



If you passed through Oneonta last Friday morning, you likely saw the American flag flying high atop an Oneonta fire truck. It was a beautiful site.But as beautiful as it physically was, it was displayed for a specific purpose – to honor Oneonta Fire and Rescue’s friend and colleague, Gary Michael Moore, who passed away May 24.

Better known as “Mike” or “Big Mike,” Moore was loved not only by his family, but by his work family and the community. Moore had a big heart. He was always smiling. That is just how Moore was. Because he loved people, Moore was always willing to lend a helping hand to others in need. Again, that is just how he was.

Moore was employed full-time at both Oneonta and Locust Fork Fire Departments, but also served with several other fire departments during his tenure as a firefighter. He was also a godly man. He loved the Lord and his life was a representation of that love. Previously, Moore had served as youth director at three local churches and a church deacon when he lived in Georgia.

Over the past three years, Moore was the athletic trainer for the Lighthouse Warrior football team. Lighthouse Warrior head coach Juan Duarte shared his thoughts about Moore by saying, “I had the privilege of getting to know Mike over the past three years. Mike had a contagious smile and was always looking for a way to help. Not only did he make sure our team was taken care of physically on the field, he encouraged them and lifted them up through prayer. Mike had the heart of a servant. He truly cared for people, and he will be greatly missed.”

When you hear people talk about Moore, it almost always includes comments about him having a big smile and a big heart. And while his work on Earth is done, he leaves behind a legacy that one can be proud of.