By David Lias
A man who has strived over the years to make Vermillion a better place to live was honored Thursday, Nov. 21, by the Vermillion Area Community Foundation.
In an event entitled, “Thanks for Giving,” members of the foundation’s board of directors were joined by Vermillion citizens in honoring Young Moore III. The evening’s festivities, held at the Valiant Vineyards, included a meal and program.
“Tonight we are here to honor the wonderful Young Moore,” said Michelle Maloney, co-chairman of the Vermillion Area Community Foundation (VACF) Board of Directors. “I don’t know that there would actually be a Vermillion Area Community Foundation if it weren’t for the hard work and financial support and emotional support of Young Moore.”
Maloney explained how, the year 2000, the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) issued a request to try to get something started in Vermillion.
“They said, ‘If you can raise $100,000 in three years, we’ll give you $25,000 for your endowment.’ Young was picked to be on the committee and lead the group of community leaders to spearhead the effort,” she said.
Maloney said thanks to Young’s help, the foundation did meet its $100,000 goal, received the $25,000 from the SDCF, and therefore began with $125,000.
Today, she said, thanks to the continued efforts of Young and others, the Vermillion Area Community Foundation has net assets of over $293,365.
The Vermillion Area Community Foundation was established in 2000 for the sole purpose of creating an endowed fund to build financial resources, that aren’t depleted each year and are forever and perpetual, to assist with capital projects that address community needs and that impact and enhance the quality of community life for residents of all ages.
Over the past 13 years, a variety of community improvements have been made possible by grants distributed by the local foundation. Those grants have helped the local police purchase new radio equipment, have assisted the Dakota Hospital Foundation with the creation of its Healing Garden, and have made facility enhancements possible at the W.H. Over Museum and the Washington Streets Arts Center operated by the Vermillion Area Arts Council.
This year, grants from the VACF have been awarded to St. Agnes School, the Center for Children and Families, the Vermillion Food Pantry, the Main Street Center and the Vermillion Public Library.
“I’m a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a person’s integrity, and how genuine they are based on the stories and the comments that people have to say about them, and I’ve only met Young tonight for the very first time, but solely based on the comments I’ve heard from other people, I can honestly say that I’m very proud to know him,” said Buddy Seiner, executive director of the South Dakota Community Foundation, who traveled from Pierre to Vermillion to be part of Thursday’s event. “I look forward to getting to know him a lot better … Young, thank you very much for all that you have done not only for the foundation but also for this great community. It is so much better because of your efforts and your work.”
A program by Deb Christensen following the evening’s meal helped everyone in attendance get to know Young just a bit better.
He was also presented a key to the city of Vermillion by Mayor Jack Powell. Captain Jerry Zevecka of the USD ROTC also presented Young with an American flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The flag was obtained with the help of U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson.
“Philanthrophy is defined as an active effort to promote human welfare,” Young said, at the conclusion of the evening’s program. “As I look around at the people in this room, it occurs to me that all of us are philanthrophists in our own right. We share our resources, time, talents, and treasure with others as best we can.
He noted that years ago, he and his wife, Gwen, discussed what they could do to make a difference.
“She and I believed in helping an activity grow to better improve the welfare of others,” Young said. “You honor both of us this evening, and I thank you.”
He was born Feb. 11, 1920, in Indianapolis, IN. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in April, 1943, and was mustered out of service in August 1946 as a 1st lieutenant, and stayed active in the U.S. Army Reserve. In 1948, he met his wife, Gwen. They were married Nov. 17, 1948.
Young was recalled to the U.S. Army in 1951 for service during the Korean Conflict. He was initially assigned to the Office Chief of Ordnance in the Pentagon, but in the fall of 1952, he was assigned to the 85th Ordnance Battalion on the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany. He was promoted to captain in 1954, and completed his service in the 85th Ordnance Battalion as an intelligence officer and assistant operations officer.
In 1955, Young was assigned as the headquarter company commander at Frankfurt Arsenal in Philadelphia, PA. In June of 1958, he was assigned as the ordnance officer of the U.S. Army training team for the 2nd Infantry Division of the Iranian Army in Tabriz, Iran, for one year.
In June 1959, Young was sent to the Guided Missile School at Redstone Arsenal. He was later accepted to the Army Bootstrap Program at the University of Omaha where he received a bachelor of general education degree.
In the summer of 1961, the Moore family moved to Mannheim, Germany. He was assigned to the ordnance industrial center where he assumed responsibility for inspection of the work in five ordnance rebuild plants in Germany, and inspection and acceptance of all ordnance material the U.S. Army procured in western Europe.
In the summer of 1964, Young was assigned to the ROTC detachment at the University of South Dakota. During his service time at USD, he took one course each semester in the graduate school of business. He retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel, and completed his MBA requirements in the spring of 1969.
The Moore family, consisting of Young, his wife, Gwen, and their two children, Gordan and Susan, had a passion for scouting. At one time, Young was the president of the Sioux Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Sioux Falls, and Gwen was the president of the Sioux Trails Girl Scouts Council in Sioux City, IA.
Young’s service to the Vermillion community includes moderator, chair of trustees and chair of stewardship for the United Church of Christ here, as well as moderator, chair, board of director member, and chair of the board of trustees for the South Dakota Conference of the United Church of Christ.
He has also served on the board of directors of the United Way, as well as serving as its executive director. He has served on the audit committee of the University of South Dakota Foundation, has served as chair of the finance committee of the Senior Citizens board of directors, and has been a member of the board of trustees for SESDAC, Inc.
Young has also served on boards for the Center for Children and Families, public transportation, Austin Whittemore House and Dakota Hospital Foundation.
He was approached by the SDCF in 2000 to begin a community foundation in Vermillion, and established the first board of directors of the VACF, and served initially as co-chair and continued as an active board member of the foundation through 2012.