Roy Clayton Poore: Engineering a better person

Published 6:39 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Roy Poore is a Claiborne County native that went to the United States Air Force, loved the engineering side of things but decided he would rather be working with people.

The Claiborne native was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on August 22, 1934 and graduated from Claiborne County High School in 1953. He moved to Michigan chasing work but one day a friend invited him on a walk to the post office.

The two arrived at their destination but to Roy’s surprise they had walked to a recruiting office instead.

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His friend went in and Poore remained outside; however, the very next day it was Roy that enlisted.

Up through the ranks he climbed and ended up as a Senior Master Sergeant who won the 1977 Non Commissioned Officer of the Year Award. He earned certification after certification in engineering and saw parts of the world through his chosen path including Japan and Vietnam specializing in water supply.

His time in Vietnam included 12 months on base during the Tet Offensive. Poore spoke about being in the combat zone, “For those 12 months we were exposed to mortar and rocket attacks and I’ll never forget the sounds of the mortars.”

Poore also shows signs on his skin where he was exposed to the tactical herbicide, agent orange.

Roy loved his work as an engineer but had always been a people-person and soon began to fill his military career with the study of people and instruction.

He soon became an Air Force instructor and prepared new recruits before basic training as to what was expected of them, how to act in certain situations, how to communicate with others and how to overlook differences in people to the betterment of the Air Force.

Poore along with a group of very select others joined together to create a program that taught people of all skin colors, dialects and other nuances to simply understand that they may all have differences in their lives and where they come from but underneath all of that; they are the same, human.

The program they designed and implemented was proven to be of great benefit and now all U.S. armed forces feature some form of that program still to this very day.

Roy had a few special people in his military life giving him advice and he spoke about one that he’ll never forget, “I owe a lot to my Base Education Officer, Mr. Bell. He is the person that told me I had a lot of education but nothing to show for it. He meant that I had no documentation, no certificates and no diplomas.”

Poore now has multiple certifications, diplomas and degrees that he remains proud of today.

He was blessed with four sons Mike, Daniel, David and Edward and he was very happily married to Ruth (Ponce) Poore but sadly Ruth passed away last year. Roy still wears his wedding band.

Roy C. Poore has a life story to be admired and his service to the United States featured a focus on the basics of humanity in a world where stereotypes and division often take the forefront.