When retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Paul D. Moreau was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, he and fellow soldiers also provided humanitarian assistance.
When he retired in 2009 after 30 years of service, the Somerset area man no longer had to fight, but still saw the need for humanitarian service.
Moreau is doing that in a number of ways.
As the lead teacher of the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Somerset Area High School, Moreau has his 89 students involved in a program that helps the community.
On the last Thursday of each month, the students, along with other Somerset-area organizations, help the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to distribute produce in Somerset, Moreau said.
Each person in need gets about 50 pounds of produce, he said.
“We help them through the line and help them to carry the food to their vehicles,” Moreau said.
He pointed out that the program assists people who range from parents with little children to the elderly.
“We make it easier for them,” Moreau said.
On Veterans Day, his students conduct an assembly at school to honor local veterans.
On Memorial Day, the students help with the flag-raising ceremony in a program hosted by the Somerset County commissioners at the county courthouse, he said. Also participating in the program are American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts.
“What’s going on in the classroom is pretty awesome,” Moreau said about the ROTC program.
Moreau and his assistant, retired Air Force Maj. Andrew DiVivo of Somerset, work to instill values such as integrity, service before self and excellence in the students.
They also conduct programs that boost self-esteem and teach citizenship, he said.
In addition to his paid position as an ROTC instructor, Moreau donates his time at the district’s two elementary schools to reinforce values being taught to students at home and in the classroom.
Moreau also is a volunteer with the Somerset County Juvenile Drug Court.
Once a week, he mentors youths who appear before the court.
“I think it’s one of the most important things that I do,” he said. “I see that I’m making a positive impact in these young people’s lives.
“I do that by just being with them, talking to them and showing them how to conduct their lives.”
Moreau, who is close to earning a master’s degree in human services, also serves on the Somerset County Citizens Advisory Board for Children and Youth Services and Juvenile Probation.
Moreau also donates his time as a motivational speaker at Twin Lakes Center, a drug- and alcohol-rehabilitation program in the Somerset area.
“It’s quite satisfying because you never know how many people you are helping to make a positive change in their lives,” he said.
Moreau is impressed with how many people in the Somerset area generously give of themselves to help others.
“I’m following their footsteps,” he said. “I’m relatively new to the area, but I am a member of the community and am trying to be part of it.”
Moreau, is a native of the Boston area, while his wife of 25 years, Lorraine, is a Pittsburgh native who also is retired from the Air Force. They moved to the Somerset area in 2009 to be near family members.
They have two sons in the Marines: Paul, a lieutenant, and John, a corporal.
Somerset County Commissioner Joe Betta said Moreau is a dedicated, selfless, military stalwart who sets an example for others to emulate.
Moreau cares about the young people and attends just about every youth activity in Somerset County to support them, he said.
Krista S. Mathias, Somerset Area School District superintendent, said Moreau has been a very nice addition to the community.
His work in various community organizations sets a good example for young people, she said.
Mary Alice Emert is a licensed clinical social worker who has a private practice in Somerset called Somerset Counseling Services. She said Moreau’s enthusiasm in helping teens make the transition to adulthood with integrity is remarkable.
Emert is on the drug court team with Moreau, a judge and others. She said Moreau does a great job as a mentor for the program.
He advises young people by giving examples of his own life and military experience. That helps youths see things differently and helps them develop responsibility, self-respect and integrity, she said.
“His passion and dedication to motivating youths to develop higher morals and values has been a huge asset to our team,” she said.
Moreau’s last assignment before leaving the Air Force was serving as command chief master sergeant of the Second Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. In that capacity, he was responsible to the commander on matters concerning the welfare, effective utilization, professional development and readiness of the enlisted members at the base.