Thanks to a St. James City woman, her best friend of 16 years was recently treated to a fun-filled day while home on leave.
Due to Kory Herrin's letter, a petty officer with the United States Coast Guard Reserve, sent to Operation Open Arms, Michael Wayne Moore received a special treat during his five-day leave on Pine Island. He arrived home Dec. 11.
"U.S. Marine Michael Moore was the 2,300th U.S. serviceman to visit Southwest Florida since 2005," Operation Open Arms Founder Capt. John "GiddyUp" Bunch said this week.
Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Moore was treated to dinner, an aerial tour and a limo and driver while he was on leave earlier this month, thanks to Operation Open Arms.
Moore, who joined the United States Marine Corps in 2006, is a native Pine Islander. He is currently serving as a Marine security guard for the United States Embassy in Moscow, Russia. He also has served in Japan, Iraq, Belgrade, Serbia and Conakry, Guinea.
In a letter sent to Bunch, Herrin said, "This career is very demanding and does not allow him to return home or receive leave very often. Sgt. Moore was due to return home last year on leave, but two weeks before his flight home, his relief did not clear security, so, in turn, Sgt. Moore was not granted his time off."
Although Moore's family now lives in Orlando, Herrin said he does not think of home until he crosses the bridge and looks out and sees Matlacha Pass.
She said the only thing Moore wanted to do while he was in town was eat American food and go to the beach. While in town, he had dinner at Sandy Hook, an aerial tour of the island and limo services.
"Michael Moore, like the 703 U.S. Marines before him, had a very short list of wishes. Thanks to great OOA partners like the Sandy Hook, Affordable Limo Service of Cape Coral, Paragon Aviation and the Matlacha Hookers, young Moore returned to Russia a very happy U.S. Marine," Bunch said.
Herrin said when she asked Moore what his favorite part was, he said, "The mahi mahi at Sandy Hook was to die for, the aerial tour was amazing and the limo and driver were so upscale (I) felt like royalty."
Herrin said she would like to say a big thank you to Nichole at Sandy Hook, Tim Kingfisher for the aerial tour and Mr. Orlando for his limo to and from Dixie Road House.
"Mike and I have been best friends for just over 16 years, he is one of my heroes and I thank you from the bottom of my heart with treating him like the American hero that he is," Herrin wrote to Bunch.
Bunch said it has always been his belief that great charities look for reasons to approve benefits and not reasons to deny them.
"This is probably why Operation Open Arms was selected as the first Pine Island charity to be named Best Charitable Organization in Fort Myers for 2011-2012," he said.
Bunch said OOA has extended every possible act of tangible kindness to all branches of the military to include limo service, lodging, great meals at fine restaurants, chartered fishing trips, free PTSD mental health counseling and, of course, the amazing achievement of 99 free full-service weddings.