Everyone’s definition of a hero is different. Some people think that a baseball player has the traits of a hero while others consider a good Samaritan they’ve crossed paths with as their hero. But what exactly is a hero? According to Miriam-Webster, a hero is “a person admired for achievements and noble qualities; one who shows great courage.”
To Bulloch County, during the voting period for the 2021 Discovering Bulloch Reader’s Choice Awards, Capt. Kaleb Moore with the Statesboro Police Department fit that definition and he was voted Best Local Hero.
Moore, 48, was involved in an on-duty motorcycle accident on March 17 when he collided with another vehicle. A member of the Statesboro PD for 23 years, Moore has held many jobs at the department. He started out as a dispatcher before working his way up to patrol officer and through the ranks of Corporal, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Training Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Patrol Captain.
He has also served on the dive rescue team, emergency response team (SWAT), bicycle patrol and motor officer/motorcycle officer. He is currently the captain assigned to heading up the newly formed Crash Reduction Unit. The goal of the unit is to look at areas in Statesboro where there is a high frequency of accidents and work to prevent those.
Originally from Waycross, Moore has called Statesboro home since 2000, plus a few years in the 90s when he lived here. He and his wife of four years (this September), Donya together have six children from their previous relationships. Moore’s children are Winston, 18 and Lita 16. Donya’s children are Ayden, 13; Westin, 21; Faith, 23; and Taylor, 26.
Moore’s favorite thing about serving in the Statesboro Police Department is being a part of the motorcycle patrol.
“It is absolutely one of the toughest jobs I have ever done, but the most rewarding. I also enjoy working with each and every person at the SPD and in receiving this nomination I can think of so many more people that are way more deserving than I. They are ALL heroes in my eyes,” he said.
Donya says that her older daughter calls Moore “Superman.”
“He loves this city and the people. Kaleb does not live for himself, but for others. If he is making someone smile and/or laugh then he is a happy man,” she says. “We cannot go anywhere, even out of state, that someone does not know him.”
As a couple, the Moores enjoy many hobbies.
“Donya and I love to live life. We scuba dive, dance, travel, go to GSU baseball games, kayak, boating, concert going, dirt road riding, life on the beach, grilling and cooking, playing the guitar and anything else we can get ourselves into,” Moore said. “I also have a pool business. I go underwater with scuba gear and find and repair the leaks — Kaleb Moore Pool Repair.”
That love for life and for one another could have been tested by Moore’s accident, but instead, Donya says, their wonderful relationship has gotten even better than they could’ve hoped for.
“We never left each other without saying that we loved each other. I never knew what a police officer’s life was like until I met Kaleb. Before I only thought they just were out to write tickets,” Donya said. “After going through the Citizen Police Academy and finding out what a day in a life is like I will never take it for granted again.”
After the accident, Moore spent some time at Memorial Hospital in Savannah. Both he and Donya say that they felt the love from Statesboro even from several counties away.
“From Donya’s perspective the department and community response was immediate and overwhelming. It shows what a great community we live in. The SPD Chief and Deputy Chief were in daily communication with Donya, not only making sure I was OK, but that she was as well,” Moore said. “The whole city seems to be genuinely concerned and reached out to us even if they had no idea who we were. We felt every prayer and knew that we were supported by Statesboro and SPD.”
Donya reiterated the sentiment, saying that people they didn’t know came out to support them during this time.
“Cards, grass cut, meals, house cleaned, donations, e-mails, text, calls, prayers, visits, and the list goes on. It was so good going to the hospital each day to let him see the signs and cards and e-mails that the community had sent. It put a smile on his face each and every time. For me I felt that I was not alone. I felt a bond that I cannot describe,” she said.
The couple expressed that they didn’t know an adequate way to thank the community and the SPD for their support during this time.
“There are so many people we would like to thank but doing that on individual basis we would forget someone and we could not live with that,” Moore said.
“I only wish I could let the community and SPD know how much they mean to us and how thankful we are to them,” Donya added.
The Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office also played a large role in the aftermath of Moore’s accident.
“I do not want to forget the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office Family that has reached out to me, how they were first on the scene, how they helped get Kaleb and I safely to Savannah,” Donya said. “I am more than grateful for all the police departments from Statesboro to Savannah for being at every intersection so that we could make it quickly and safely to Memorial. Each time I saw an officer, it gave me hope.”
Having served for more than two decades on the police force, Moore has seen his fair share of incidents. But one that stuck with him from the last few years was a well-publicized case involving three girls abducted from a local grocery store.
The girls were abducted a knife-point from the Food World on Fair Road and the offender forced them to drive to Candler County where he sexually assaulted one of them.
“We received a call that the girls were in Candler County. I immediately responded to Candler County knowing the location the girls were,” Moore recounted. “I wanted to personally make sure that the girls were safe and accounted for. I was humbled by the bravery of the young lady that was sexually assaulted. Myself and Capt. James Winsky stayed in Candler County the remainder of the night and into the wee hours of the morning on the man hunt for the suspect who was later found to have committed suicide.”
While Moore downplays his actions, the incident echoes just some of the reasons he was voted Best Local Hero. What we each see as heroic may vary, but all heroes have heroes of their own.
When asked what his favorite thing about being a police officer was, Moore said, “It is probably different for each person early in their career but for me, now it is to uphold the honor and memory of the heroes and mentors that have taught me over the years.”
Donya sums up why Moore was a shoo-in for the honor of Best Local Hero.
“Kaleb, as well as all the other police officers, put their lives out there for ours. Kaleb almost lost his life doing what he loves and what he believes in. I know without a doubt that he would give up his life to save yours and mine,” she said.
Her words are rather fitting considering that Moore’s definition of a hero is, “A person that is willing, without thought or hesitation that will do what others are not willing to do, regardless of personal cost.”
That definition sums up his career in law enforcement pretty well.