Greenport firefighters launch ‘Fill the Boot’ campaign for Al McMoore

Al Mcmoore
Al Mcmoore

Greenporters help their own, so when members of Greenport Fire Department learned that Al McMoore, 58, a 23-year veteran of the department and a meter reader for the village utilities department, needed a liver transplant, they rallied to his side.

Fellow firefighter Bernie Purcell launched what he’s calling the “Fill the Boot” campaign to raise funds to help Mr. McMoore and his family pay whatever bills his health insurance won’t cover if and when he has a transplant. He’s currently waiting for a suitable donor organ.

“He’s just one of us,” Mr. Purcell said about helping a man he calls a “brother.” Mr. McMoore is captain of the Hook & Ladder Company and an ex-captain of the department’s rescue squad. He was selected Emergency Medical Service Man of the Year in 2001. In 2006 he earned accreditation as a critical care emergency medical technician.

As a village worker for 11 years, Mr. McMoore has health insurance, but he and his wife, Sarah Haynes, don’t know how much it will cover. They also don’t know how long he’ll have any coverage because he is too weak to keep working.

“The village is taking steps to make sure that Al is taken care of,” Mayor David Nyce said. He wasn’t sure how much vacation and sick time Mr. McMoore has accrued, but said he was looking into his record and exploring ways to ensure that someone who has given so much to Greenport won’t find himself cut off, which happened in 2006 to village worker Phil McKnight.

Mr. McKnight had cancer and used up his own sick and vacation time as well as time contributed by other workers. His job and benefits ended by Thanksgiving of 2006, after which he was without health insurance. It was one of the first issues Mr. Nyce grappled with when he took office in April 2007; with community help, he was able to restore Mr. McKnight’s benefits until he could qualify for Medicaid. Meanwhile, the community donated money to help Mr. McKnight and his family cover other bills. Mr. McKnight succumbed to cancer last year.

It was last April when Mr. McMoore told his wife he wasn’t feeling well; only a month later, he learned he would need a liver transplant.

“Men don’t tell you things,” Ms. Haynes said when asked what was wrong with her husband’s illness. She said she knew only that he never complained until last spring. The couple has been together for 26 years.

Mr. McMoore has been treated at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson and is traveling back and forth to New York City for tests and consultations with the transplant team at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Meanwhile, the hunt continues for a compatible donor.
So far, they’ve only had make co-payments but Ms. Hayes doesn’t know what other medical bills they will face in the months ahead. She works as a nurses’ aide at San Simeon by the Sound Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Contributions should be sent to Greenport Fire Department, P.O. Box 58, Greenport, NY 11944. Mark checks for the Al McMoore Fill the Boot Campaign.

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