A coach, and a Christmas tree

 Tenneseean Dave Moore, right, stands next to a gaily decorated, late model station wagon (complete with Christmas tree on top) which he drove to Barron last week from his home base near Knoxville, Tenn. The vehicle is a tribute to the classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie. Photo by Mark Bell

People who watched Dave “Coach” Moore drive into Barron last week could not have missed him.

His late model “woody” station wagon was adorned with Christmas lights. It had an evergreen tree attached to the roof. The words “Christmas Vacation” and “Tiny Truckster” were printed on a pennant that stretched across the top of the front windshield. A holiday wreath was attached to the front grille. The vehicle is a tribute to the classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie.

Moore came to town wearing a Tennessee pullover, athletic shoes and several large rings on his fingers.

A retired Tennessee football coach who now runs a nonprofit organization called “Care 365,” Moore said he decided to drive to Barron after hearing and reading about the trials and tribulations that the community went through in the aftermath of Jayme Closs’ abduction and the murders of her parents in October 2018.

“I came here unsolicited,” Moore said Monday, Jan. 21, as he got ready to leave town “I just thought I would spread around some cheer. I imagine that this must have been a very unusual Christmas season in this area.”

Moore was shivering in the January cold when he visited the Cupboard and Closet store during his weekend stay in Barron.

He said the folks at the store decided to extend a kindness to him in return for his visit, giving him a Green Bay Packers jacket to wear.

“The interesting thing about this,” he said, pointing to the jacket, “is that I once worked with (former Packer great) Reggie White at a football camp,” Moore said.

According to the Care 365 website, Moore was retired from his coaching career when, in 1997, he started Care Club, a group for “socially adrift” students at the high school where he’d worked in Knoxville.

Since then Care365 has expanded its operations to include “CAREacter,” programs that recognize athletes and other local students who display the traits of “attitude, character, community service, grades and performance” as they lead their daily lives.

The agency also provides food, clothing, furniture and household items, as well as items for the needy during the holiday season, and visits to hospitals and nursing homes.