Jeff Moss Takes Action
A St. James resident and veteran gives back to the community by tackling the first-class mish mash of trash on local roadways – and so much more.
He was tired of looking at it. That was enough to move St. James resident Jeff Moss into action. Since April 2020, Moss has organized trash collections along E.F. Middleton Boulevard from North Carolina Highway 211 to Swain’s Cut Bridge.
“Somebody had to do something, and I had the capability of solving the problem,” Moss says. “I have always been a catalyst for action.”
As part of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway program, volunteers from St. James, Oak Island and Southport joined under Moss’s leadership to pick up trash once every quarter. Nearly 30 volunteers come out each time for three hours. And several members of his 100-strong Facebook group routinely pick up to keep the road debris-free.
“It’s a constant situation,” Moss says. “And when I use my bush hog to mow, it extends to an all-day event.”
Moss estimates the effort to clean the highway surpassed 48 hours in February.
Local residents EJ Johnson and Larry Strayer are dedicated volunteers to Moss’s cleanup initiative. Johnson was out biking when he first met Moss, who was weed-eating alongside the road. Johnson, who had been doing road clean up on his own, recognized the value of Moss’s organized efforts and joined his crew.
“Moss goes above and beyond,” Johnson says. “He takes pride in his work and working with him is great.”
Strayer adds, “Moss has a can-do attitude and he keeps it fun to engage people. I believe in what he’s doing. The more people who get involved, the more we can accomplish.”
Strayer, who has also donated blood platelets more than 400 times, says volunteering is a mindset. “Money is not the answer to every problem,” he says. “People just want to know that others care and want to help.”
Moss’s volunteerism doesn’t stop on what he calls the community’s “gateway to Oak Island paradise.” He also supports Make-A-Wish Foundation. His passion to give to others goes back 20 years. His daughter Mallory, now 30, was a Make-A-Wish child who received a paid-in-full wish following a second brain surgery to combat intractable epilepsy when she was 11. “Since then, I have always wanted to give back,” Moss recalls.
Having served on the front lines in the Gulf War during Operation Desert Storm, Moss is a member of the St. James American Legion Post 543 and the Veterans of Foreign War Post 12196. In an ongoing initiative, Moss’s company donates to both Make-A-Wish and Folds of Honor, which funds scholarships for the immediate family of those killed or dramatically wounded while serving in the military.
Moss spends his free time playing drums with the local rock and blues band The Salty Dawgs.
And even then, he’s thinking about helping others. The Salty Dawgs frequently donate their performances to local fundraisers. As a past U.S. Army attack helicopter pilot and Bronze Star Medal recipient, he enjoys flying Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopters in air shows with the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum in Hampton, Georgia.
While Moss says that drive, determination, good judgment and decision-making guide his business, it’s obvious that these things drive his daily life. As an advocate of fitness activity, Moss advises, “Walk, but with a purpose. Carry a garbage bag with you. It benefits you and your community.”