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Moore will repeat torch performance

November 23, 2001

Moore will repeat torch performance



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


When George M. Moore Jr. carries the Olympic torch for two-tenths of a mile in Martinsburg, he will do it from his wheelchair.

Moore, 57, director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, survived when his F-100 Super Sabre crashed on landing 31 years ago. The plane hit some construction and cartwheeled down the runway in a fiery ball.

He spent more than three years in hospitals. The accident cost him his legs and right arm and permanently mangled his left hand.

The crash did not, however, damage his personality. A visitor leaves feeling warm and upbeat.

Moore was nominated as an Olympic torch bearer by Steve Boykin, medical center associate director.

Moore said carrying the Olympic torch is a thrill. He should know. He carried the torch before, for the Summer Olympics in 1984 in Los Angeles.

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"It was in Pittsburgh, and it was pouring down rain," Moore said. "It was such a thrill. People were leaning out of windows cheering."

Police set up roadblocks to clear a path for the torch bearers, he said.

"Somebody passes the flame to me, and I pass it to somebody else," he said.

Moore said he has bought the torch he'll be carrying on Dec. 20, as he did for the one he carried in 1984. He made a stand for the 1984 torch and displays it on the mantel at his home.

Moore was an Air Force fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. Models of the jet fighters he flew are displayed in his office.

Before joining the VA, he was a service officer for the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Moore began his VA career in 1982 as chief of Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service at the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was appointed director of the Martinsburg center in August 1998.

In April 1999, Moore became director of the Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service Line for Washington, Baltimore and Martinsburg.

His hobby is pheasant hunting.

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