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February 26. 2013 6:55PM

MooreMart co-founder up for national citizenship award

BEDFORD - A judge has been recognized for his dedication and commitment to American soldiers. Paul Moore, co-founder of MooreMart, is one of 23 finalists in the Citizen Service Before Self Honors program.

"I am very, very excited. Coming from a military family, this has a special significance to me and my extended family. We are quite honored," Moore said Tuesday.

The award program is organized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, which aims to recognize unsung heroes.

Moore, 55, founded MooreMart with his sister, Carole Biggio, in 2004 when their brother, Brian Moore, was stationed in Iraq. In an effort to support his unit, Paul Moore and Carole Biggio began sending out 10 care packages a month. Routine packing events were eventually planned, and the program snowballed to about 1,800 packages being sent to New Hampshire troops every 10 weeks.

To date, 50,000 MooreMart care packages and more than four tons of relief supplies have been shipped to the Middle East to help schools, clinics and orphanages.

While Moore is nominated for the award, he stressed that many groups and volunteers have helped make MooreMart a success.

"Paul's mission engaged volunteers from area churches, residents and scout troops, and secured both public and private donations," says the award program's website. "Mr. Moore has gone above and beyond to improve the lives of American troops deployed in harm's way, together with children in the combat zones where they serve."

Finalists for the Citizen Service Before Self Honors program are from 13 states, and are being recognized for various heroic acts including fire rescues, a lifesaving organ transplant, a foiled kidnapping and more, according to a release. Nominations were made by members of Congress, police and fire officials, mayors, governors and citizens the release says.

"This prestigious recognition is a testament to Paul's exceptional dedication to supporting our servicemen and women," U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte said in a statement. "I commend Paul for his service to our troops, and I join all Granite Staters in applauding this well-deserved honor."

The 23 finalists now enter the next phase of judging to select four ultimate Citizen Heroes to receive special medals for their service. The four honorees will be announced on March 11, and an award ceremony is scheduled for March 25, National Medal of Honor Day, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

"Even if I am not included in the top four, this nomination has already had a very positive impact," said Moore. "It brings a lot of attention to MooreMart, and it sheds a positive light on our troops."

Moore's volunteer efforts reach beyond MooreMart, as the organizations and people he has touched are plenty. As an attorney, Moore performed pro bono work for several churches in the Nashua area. He also started A Hand Up in the late 1990s, now known as The Launching Pad, a federally-funded nonprofit day care in Nashua for parents who could not afford child care.

He was selected as the Union Leader Citizen of the Year for 2011. Award organizers have noted that nominations for heroes surrounding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December are being handled separately later this year.

khoughton@newstote.com

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