If you didn’t know Carrie Moore was a fitness expert by profession, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out. The upbeat, high-energy Navy veteran is involved with several programs—one of which she started herself—to help fellow servicemen and women with a wide variety of needs.
Perhaps nearest to her heart is the newly formed organization “Got Your Six,” a no-cost service dog-training organization she co-created with her husband, Matt Moore. The pair train dogs on a monthly basis. It can be one that a veteran currently owns, or else the couple can help individuals find a shelter animal that’s a good fit for the tasks needed and the home environment. (Donations for this new program are needed and welcomed.)
Most recently, Carrie is completing the process to become an accredited veterans’ service officer, helping vets and their dependents file claims with the VA to obtain their earned benefits. For the past eight years, she’s been a volunteer with the Dale K. Graham Veteran Foundation, where she is working on becoming the “go-to” person for veterans filing military sexual assault claims. Accompanying her each week is Ruger, her personal service dog, who has become the organization’s unofficial mascot.
“With my dual-purpose dog, I feel I am able to use compassion and understanding when helping these particular veterans, especially sexual assault victims,” she said. “Having the dog there often makes it easier for them to relax and handle their emotions.”
Along with her VSO work, Carrie is intensely interested in another hot topic related to veterans: suicide prevention. She recently completed the federal government’s Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which teaches participants how to assess and help those at risk.
Together with Marine veteran and personal friend Jessica Rose Johnson, “We love to travel around providing training for any company that will have us, ensuring that everyone attending has confidence in how to respond to this issue, as well as the resources needed to help,” she said.
“Previously there were a couple of times when I felt helpless to help someone and thought ‘I will not feel this way again,’” Carrie said. “Right after the ASIST training, I had someone come through and it sparked her to get help. That means the world to me.”
As for her own personal story, Carrie was raised in Eufaula and said she “didn’t really have a path” outlined after high school. She opted to join the service because she wanted to get out and see the world, and to honor the contributions of her father, William Andrus, a Vietnam War veteran.
“He never really shared stories, but he was always very proud of his service; he always wore his Vietnam Veteran hat, that kind of thing,” she said. “I had to choose between the Navy and Air Force, and the Navy won out.”
During her five years in the service, Carrie was stationed primarily at Fort Meade, where she did cryptography work as part of a Navy team overseen by the National Security Agency. It was there that she met her husband, a fellow Okie and Marine Corp vet who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The two both worked on the NSA’s operations floor. Carrie was later promoted to a management position, where she was responsible for briefing higher-level officers and others.
After leaving the service in 2001, Carrie, her husband and their two children, Alissa and Austin, relocated to his hometown of Moore, where Matt works in cybersecurity, as well as developing their Got Your 6 program.
Along with all her other obligations, one that Carrie is most excited about is competing as a semi-finalist in the Ms. Veteran America this coming October.
“Yes, this is a thing, but it’s not to be confused with a pageant—it is a contest,” she said. “The beneficiary is Final Salute, Inc., which raises awareness and funds to provide suitable housing for female homeless veterans, 70% of whom are single mothers.”
Candidates for Ms. Veteran America are judged in three categories, she added, including fundraising, an interview and lip-synching talent. Currently, Carrie spends much of her time fundraising and meeting with state government and other officials to raise awareness. (A Go Fund Me page created by Moore for Final Salute can be found at https://gofund.me/d6b05508, and her work can also be supported through Facebook and Instagram at CarrieM4MVA2023.)
“I’m looking to take action, not just advocate with verbal support,” she said. “Being part of Ms. Veteran America really opened my eyes to the statistics about homeless female veterans and veterans in general, and what I’m looking to do is get people to take action, not just offer verbal support.”
While her daily to-do list can be overwhelming, she says: “The stuff I’m doing now is in many ways overcompensating, because I didn’t ever deploy overseas. I don’t feel like I did enough, and I’m making up for it now. The ones who were in combat are the real heroes.”