TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – Denise Moore’s life of service begins where her mother’s life ended.
“My mother died a horrible death,” Moore said through tears. “She died in the emergency room with sirens going off and machines beeping and people running around.”
Denise told 2 NEWS Today Anchor Lauren Wood that if she had known about hospice back then, it all would’ve been different for her mom. “Her only wish was to be able to be at home,” Moore said.
That wish propelled Moore into a new career in hospice. For nearly two decades, Moore has helped others receive the end-of-life care of which her mother only dreamed.
“End-of-life can be a celebration of life,” Moore said. “That’s what it should be.”
Denise doesn’t only serve those at the end of their lives, though. She also serves those who are at the beginning, as a member and leader of the Trotwood-Madison City School Board. “I don’t think anybody ever says, ‘I’m going to run for the school board,’” Denise quipped. “It’s not something they dream about.”
She might not have dreamed about it, but this was a call she answered because of her daughter’s dreams. At the time, Denise’s daughter was struggling in the classroom. Denise wanted a better future for her and her classmates.
“I wanted to be a part of the process,” Denise recalled. “I wanted to be at the table to represent children. To advocate for not only what they deserve, but what they need.”
For 16 years, Denise has helped lead the Trotwood-Madison City School board through numerous struggles, including the district nearly being taken over by the state. “We were one breath away from losing our autonomy and authority in our own city,” Denise said.
With Denise leading the way, Trotwood came together and made the needed improvements. But the struggles weren’t over. “After we overcame the takeover, here comes the tornadoes,” Denise said.
An EF-4 tornado tore right through the heart of the district causing 300 students to lose their homes. Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald said she can’t imagine what the recovery process would’ve looked like without Denise.
“I watched her absolutely champion it,” McDonald said. “Face it on.”
Next came COVID-19.
“Making decisions about children’s lives and whether to go back to school, whether they’re going to be out of school,” McDonald said. “Watching her make those decisions… I knew it was a heavy weight.”
It’s a weight that Denise was fit to carry. Under her leadership, Trotwood became the first district in the Miami Valley to decide to go virtual. “They’re asking, ‘How are you doing that?’” Denise recalled. “And my only answer is that it’s the right thing to do.”
Protecting students… and setting an example.
“I think so many times, little girls feel like they’re alone,” Denise said. “They kind of are in the shadows. But I want them to know to stand strong. Be the leader that you are.” Just like the remarkable woman they are watching.