Area ‘coach’ ministry taken from Christmas movie
A beloved Christmas movie has turned into a ministry for Dave Moore.
Known affectionately as “Coach” from his many years devoted to high school teaching and coaching, Moore is into his fifth year of sharing his “Christmas Vacation Family Truckster” with Farragut, Knoxville and surrounding communities. .
The decked-out station wagon, oversized and painted green just like the popular Vacation movie vehicles, has all the props: a live Christmas tree seemingly pulled up by the roots; a (toy) squirrel; a mangled metal snow sled; festive holiday lights — and new this year, pictures of the four main movie characters at the passenger windows as though they were seated inside.
Moore drives all over town, making both planned and impromptu visits to schools, malls, nursing homes, company parties and neighborhoods.
And, the locations may be different, but the reactions always are the same.
“People are all so glad to see the Truckster,” he said. “They laugh and smile, take pictures of it. And some cry tears of joy.
“Every year, they tell me how much they have looked forward to seeing it again.”
Last week, Moore visited Farragut Primary School and Summit View. At the latter location, residents had seen the movie earlier in the day and were surprised by the Truckster in the parking lot. Residents and employees alike circled the wagon, taking in and exclaiming over the decorations, which also included movie quotes, such as “It’s a membership to the Jelly of the Month Club!”
Moore said he gets just
as much, if not more, from the experiences.
“When I leave my house, I don’t just go on a road trip,” he said. “I go on a mission trip. But its neat — I’m the one that is blessed.
“It is amazing the people I meet and what they give me, and it fuels me to keep doing it.”
The idea for the Truckster began with his own family’s love for the movie, which he and his three children watched endlessly when he was raising them as a single father.
“We watched it over and over on the VCR, and laughed every time,” Moore said.
“We didn’t have cable — we had VCR tapes,” he added. “And, we watched the summer ‘Vacation’ and the ‘Christmas Vacation’ [movies] over and over again.
“I knew back then, if it could bring us that much laughter from start to finish, it would bring that much joy to others, too.”
Growing up in Oak Ridge, Moore realized as an elementary school student he not only wanted to coach and teach — the Lord was calling him to the vocation.
“Everything is in line with what God wanted me to do with my life,” he said.
Moore served as a teacher and coach at Sunbright, Knoxville Catholic and Lenoir City high schools, among other locations, before retiring five years ago.
And through those avenues he began an organization, CARE 365, to support and encourage youngsters and athletes to think beyond themselves.
“I wanted to show (students) that they should care about each other every day of the year, and that it’s not about what others can do for you — it’s about what you can do for others,” he said, crediting the late President John F. Kennedy’s famous sentiment.
While Moore still works with that organization, he has turned a huge focus on the Trickster ministry, which he has expanded into a year-round affair. He drives it in the summer, decked out with props from the first Vacation movie, in which the family traveled cross country to an amusement park. Moore also refers to the vehicle as “The Tribute Truckster,” as it has the names of individuals who have passed on but impacted him in some way, from his parents and two of his grandchildren, to Kennedy, Pat Head Summit and local teen hero, the late Zaevion Dobson. “A lot of what is on the truck is fun, but there is some deep stuff to it, too,” he said.
Moore stays focused on his overall ministry.
“The Lord tells us to bring joy and happiness to others, and that is what I try to do, every day,” he said. “I’m doing with [the Truckster] what we should be doing all of us in life, no matter what time of year it is.”
For information about the Truckster, and upcoming scheduled visits, call 865-966-CARE (2273).