Col. Donald W. Moreau Sr.
Col. Donald W. Moreau Sr., war hero, friend, father and founder of Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF) of Indiana, is a real-life example of what it means to leave a lasting impact on those around you.
Coming of age during the Great Depression and WWII, Moreau found that community became instrumental in surviving difficult times. He began his community service at 17 when he enlisted in the Navy during WWII. After graduating college, he enlisted in the Army and served for 28 years, including combat tours in the Korea and Vietnam wars. He went on to a successful career in government, serving Governors Bowen, Orr and Bayh.
In 1993, Moreau helped found HVAF of Indiana to help homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness. “He brought community together to improve life for homeless vets. He would not have known what to do if he was not serving the community,” his son, Bill Moreau said. Moreau strived to put an end to veteran homelessness and was unwilling to compromise in pursuit of that goal.
In the early days of HVAF, Moreau and his wife were deeply involved in the day-to-day care of veterans. They made it a point to move their offices close to the population they aimed to serve. One of the core values Moreau instilled at HVAF was a requirement to give back through volunteering – even as it grew, that value never changed.
According to his son, “Dad was a patriot in the truest sense. One central tenet of patriotism is citizenship and he lived out those beliefs.” Moreau was known to lead by example, in the community and at work. “He worked so hard and it inspired those around him to give their all to help achieve his vision,” said Moreau’s 100 Heroes nominator Aaron Carmichael.
Moreau believed that anyone could work together to improve the lives of others; service did not have a political affiliation. During his lifetime, he was honored by eight different governors and presented one of the highest distinctions in Indiana, the Sagamore of the Wabash, eight separate times.
Accomplishments aside, his friends and family will remember him for his integrity, humility and kindness. Moreau passed away on August 23, 2017 at the age of 89, but his impact on veterans lives on through his memorial, which raised nearly $50,000 to underwrite the cost of veterans staying in the Donald W. Moreau Sr. Veterans House.