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Knoxville coach spreading holiday cheer amid cancer battle

Governor Bill Lee has appointed "Christmas Vacation" truckster owner Dave Moore a Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — On a rainy day in Knoxville, Dave Moore gets in his decked-out green station wagon and does what he does every December.

Moore drives through neighborhoods and shopping centers greeting others with holiday cheer.

"Love you, Knoxville! Love you, Tennessee! Merry Christmas!" Moore shouts through the PA system on his Christmas Vacation-themed truckster.

"This brings joy and happiness to others," Moore said.

Moore's mission is simple—to make people smile.

"This is the twelfth year, and this is the first car," Moore said.

Two cars, a Cousin Eddie RV and thousands of miles later—Moore's trips have taken him to 12 states where he has comforted others during some of the nation's worst tragedies.

Credit: Dave Moore

"Those people, they fuel me. They're the gas that keeps me going," Moore said. 

This summer an unexpected diagnosis came during his USA Care Tour.

"Before I went to Highland Park, I found out that I had prostate cancer," Moore said.

But that didn't stop him from getting to where he knew he needed to be—with a town in Illinois rocked by a devastating mass shooting during a Fourth of July parade.

Credit: Dave Moore

"There is no way on God's earth I'm gonna make that trip about me and play a feel sorry for me card. That was about Highland Park and their suffering and what they were going through," Moore said. "It's a lot worse than me."

Moore took a truckload of gifts and messages of support from the Volunteer State.

Credit: Dave Moore

So far this year Moore said he has helped more than 300 families.

"Everywhere I go, I make them aware that I am representing Knoxville and our state of Tennessee, and I do not take it lightly," Moore said.

Governor Bill Lee recently appointed and commissioned the former teacher and football coach as a Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill to carry well wishes and a message of Tennessee hospitality to people everywhere.

The Tennessee Senate also honored Moore for his lifetime achievements.

Meantime, Moore has been flooded with messages of encouragement in his fight against cancer.

Credit: Heather Waliga

"It really touched me," Moore said. "Me learning how to receive is the toughest thing in the world. It's so easy to give, but gosh it's hard to receive."

Even on the darkest days, Moore is determined to find the smiles that make the miles worth driving.

"I am blessed today. I'm happy. I feel good. I'm not concerned about tomorrow. It's what I do today to make Knoxville proud," Moore said.

If you want Moore and this Christmas Vacation truckster to visit your neighborhood, call (865) 455-0338.

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