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Empower AI’s Henry Moran remembers the day like it was yesterday. He was a senior in high school when his mom asked him to go pick up some lunch at a new restaurant one Saturday afternoon. While looking for the restaurant, he got a little lost in the New Jersey neighborhood and stopped into a nearby Army recruiter’s office for directions.

But the direction he received that day from the recruiter was a lot more than he bargained for.

“I signed up on the spot,” said Moran, who ironically, wound up serving 17 years in the Army, finishing his service as a recruiter.

At the time, Moran, who is now a senior recruiter for Empower AI, already had plans to attend St. John’s University later that fall. But the brief conversation with the Army recruiter that early summer afternoon made him think differently about his future.

“It was a casual conversation, but I trusted him,” Moran said of the recruiter. “We just talked, and he listened. And eventually when I became a recruiter, that’s exactly what I did, and I still do today. Talk and listen.”

But Moran noted that he almost didn’t make it to boot camp at all later that summer. While working on a summer job for the city, he contracted a horrible case of poison ivy on his legs, which required significant medical care, and he even had to walk with a cane.

“I told my recruiter what happened, and he was like, ‘Sorry that happened, but you better figure it out,’” Moran said. “I definitely wasn’t 100 percent when I went to boot camp, but I made it through.”

Indeed, Moran made it through boot camp in the scorching heat of Fort Jackson, S.C., and went on to serve his next 10 years in Hawaii, first at Schofield Barracks Army Base in Oahu, and then at nearby Wheeler Army Airfield. His job that first decade was in Human Resources, but he also deployed three times to Iraq during that period, one year for each tour.

During his time in Iraq, he was thankful he didn’t have to go “outside the wire” very often, but while stationed near Sadam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit in 2006, he’ll never forget the heavy bombings that came the day after Hussein was executed.

“It was intense,” he said. “We got bombed and bombed that day, and the ground shook constantly.”

​Recruiting the Next Generation

During his last tour in Iraq, he got a letter from the Army that said he was going back to the states to be trained as an Army recruiter in Alabama, which at first, wasn’t something he wanted to do. He had already worked out his next assignment to return to Hawaii.

“It was obviously a big change, but it worked out great,” he said, adding that he stayed in Dothan, Ala., for four years, where as a recruiter, he was a welcomed member of the community.

“I enjoyed it so much – I really enjoyed those kids,” he said. “I could go to any high school or college in the area, and I could always tell who needed help. Families trusted me with their kids.”

Moran ended his Army career in Sterling, Va., where he had risen to the rank of E7 (Sergeant, First Class) and oversaw the office, which included all the Loudoun County high schools and colleges. He left the Army in 2017 and joined Empower AI a few months later. He still has that sense of mission and tackles it the same way each day.

“The Army was my family for 17 years, and now at Empower AI, I feel the same way,” he said. He added that he stays in contact with almost every recruit he helped enlist.

Today, Moran has more time to focus more on family, which is the most important thing to him. He has two daughters, one of whom is only 8 years old, but despite her young age, she’s already a top 5 golfer in the state of Ohio, where he lives today.

“She’s amazing, and everyone is in awe of her ability,” Moran said proudly, adding that he was caddying for her when she got her first eagle. “She was so stoked. It was a par 4 and she drove the green. She talked about it for weeks.”

Moran also finds time for his own hobby – bowling. He made the Army team twice during his time of service, and today, he boasts an average of 208.

On Veterans Day, he doesn’t have plans to get a free meal or get any special deals as a Veteran. But he definitely will reach out to his lifelong friends from his time of service and share some memories.

“We all deserve more than a free meal, but I don’t do any of that,” he said. “I know in my heart what I did, and how I did it. I will always have those experiences.”

★★★

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HENRY MORAN

U.S. Army Veteran, and now Senior Recruiter,
Empower AI