It’s been nearly two years since Turlock High School graduate Zachery Moore was tragically killed in a car accident, leaving a hole not only in the hearts of his family and friends, but also impacting the Turlock community at large. While shirts that read “ZMO Strong” have become a common sight in the wake of his passing, the Moore family is hoping an upcoming dinner will raise funds to honor their son’s spirit for years to come.
The inaugural Zachery Moore Memorial Scholarship Foundation fundraiser dinner will be held on Oct. 19 — an evening of food, drinks, dancing and laughs that Zachery’s father hopes reminds people of his son’s infectious zeal for life.
“Zach just wanted to have fun,” David Moore said. “It still feels like it happened yesterday and it’s hard to believe it happened, but there’s always someone there to pick us up.”
Zachery’s death in January 2018 came as a shock to those who knew and loved him — especially the students at THS, who knew the 2015 Bulldog alum as a football linebacker that lived for the Friday night lights. The school wanted to do something to honor him, David Moore said, and began selling shirts emblazoned with his nickname as a way to raise money for a scholarship in his honor. The “ZMO Strong” t-shirts supported the Zachery Moore Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which awards $500 to a graduating senior hand-picked by the Moores who doesn’t just excel in academics, athletics and leadership, but embodies Zachery’s spirit.
“It’s for someone who has that ZMO spirit. Someone who’s a leader, but it doesn’t have to be an ‘in your face’ kind of guy,” David Moore said. “They’re someone everyone follows and who plays more for the team than for themselves. They have that ‘Bulldog for life’ spirit.”
Moore takes in athletic competitions himself to look for the scholarship recipients, he added, and talks to coaches, administration, teachers and even campus supervisors to ensure he’s selecting the right Bulldog.
Last year, Cameran Sherwood was the first-ever recipient of the award — fitting, as after the Harvest Bowl football game was over, he tore off his jersey to reveal a white t-shirt with “ZMO Strong” written over his heart.
The scholarship is a way to give back to the community that has done so much for the Moores since losing Zachery, David said.
“That’s the community of Turlock. They rally around people and they help you. I know (Zachery) would be overwhelmed,” he said. “Sometimes I get stuff in my eye just thinking about it and have to pull over to the side of the road. It’s like...wow.”
The community will once again rally around the Moores at the inaugural dinner, where a live auction and raffle will take place. Handmade items like a wooden playhouse and a custom bar will be available — just another example of how Turlock residents have helped to honor Zachery’s memory.
For those who haven’t yet purchased tickets or are interested in sponsoring the event monetarily or through the donation of auction and raffle items, a table will be set up at the Oct. 11 THS football game for them to do so.
It’s David’s hope that the scholarship in his son’s name will become a THS tradition.
“Hopefully someday his brothers’ kids are the ones choosing who gets to win,” he said.
The Zachery Moore Memorial Scholarship Foundation fundraising dinner will be held from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Turlock Portuguese Hall, 528 N Golden State Blvd. Tickets will not be sold at the door. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact David Moore at 209-996-4881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.