WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington community is mourning the loss of U.S. Army Spc. Antonio Moore. He was deployed in Syria when he was killed in a vehicle rollover accident.
The co-owner and workers over at Katy’s Grill and Bar in Wilmington say Moore was not just an employee, he was family. With his loss, they say they’re missing their little brother.
“When everybody talks about Tony and “the smile”, it truly was a contagious smile,” server Kristen Moore said “You couldn’t be in a bad mood around him.”
Moore was better known to some at “Smiley”, especially those who once worked with him at Katy’s.
“Every single day, it didn’t matter what kind of day he was having,” Co-owner Kelly Baucom said. “He would come in and throw the biggest smile ever, and it would just brighten everybody’s day.”
The 22-year-old was a Hoggard graduate and former football player. Close friends are still in shock at his death.
“It sucked,” Baucom said.
“Just so unexpected,” Kristen Moore said. “It was his first deployment. I feel like he had just gotten over there.”
Baucom says Moore first enlisted while working at Katy’s.
“I was just so proud of him,” he said. “We all knew he had a career in football, but yet he chose to serve our country. That’s just so honorable.”
Baucom says Moore was a hometown hero to them.
“It was just awesome to see him growing up and maturing into a young man, and then fighting for our country and fighting for our freedom,” he said.
Aside from his service and success on the football field, friends will remember Moore mostly for the simple things.
“His hugs,” Kristen Moore said. “When you would come to work, you wouldn’t say, ‘Hey Tony.’ It would be, ‘Hey Tony.’ With a big teddy bear hug.”
“I think if every body can just remember that beautiful smile he had, that’s the way he would want it,” Baucom said.
Baucom says Moore was nothing but loved by the people who knew him.
“If you didn’t love Tony, something was wrong,” he said. “You just didn’t love life.”
Baucom says they plan to display a photo of Moore and create a small memorial somewhere in the restaurant.