Electrician’s Mate 1st Class William Gore gets the job done on the ship — supervisors agree he’s one of the hardest working and effective guys they have. But its what Gore does off the clock that earns him the title of Military Times’ 2017 Coast Guard Service Member of the Year.
Over the past three years, Gore and his wife, Judith, have donated thousands of dollars to start a nonprofit that has provided more than 3,000 impoverished Honduran children with free dental care. The nonprofit is called Danilo’s Cares, named for the Danilo’s leather company in Honduras owned by Judith’s father, Danilo Martinez.
The inspired moment came in 2011 when Gore and his wife took a trip to her native Honduras. Gore wrote in a blog post that the level of poverty in some parts of the country looked like something from National Geographic magazine.
“Even though Judith had told me what to expect, it paled in comparison to the reality of the conditions," he wrote. "Mud huts, no running water, dirt floors and poor hygiene."
The Gores started doing volunteer work for kids in Honduras shortly after that trip, but Danilo’s Cares took off in earnest when Judith’s father died of leukemia in 2014.
As a way to honor Danilio’s memory and manage Judith’s grief over the loss of her father, she and Gore set out to build a nonprofit in his name.
Gore began researching and talking to people who had experience with nonprofits and discovered there was a lot to it.
“We didn’t know how much work it would be to start a nonprofit,” Gore said. “It is a full-time job in and of itself.”
Danilo’s Cares partnered with another charity organization, Central American Medical Outreach Inc., and within months of officially forming as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt group, the couple had launched the first of their "dental brigades." A dental brigade provides everything from cleaning and fluoride treatments to tooth extraction and cavity fillings.
The latest dental event was expected to serve more than 400 children in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
The nonprofit, led by Judith, aims to develop and maintain relationships with the community and teach kids to maintain dental health for the long haul.
“One of things that gets lost sometimes in nonprofit work is that we stress to these kids about how they can help themselves,” Gore said. “Some charities give a handout and don’t develop a relationship with the kids but that’s not what we do. Everything we are doing is because we believe in them and we want them to know that.”
On top of being a dedicated humanitarian, Gore is also the go-to guy on his ship, said Lt. j.g. Ben Greene.
“His technical skills and attention to detail, as well as work ethic, are what make him such an excellent electrician and engineer,” Greene told Navy Times. “I have seen him repair systems on our 51 year-old cutter that haven’t been working correctly in a decade, and sacrifice the little time he has off to do it. His leadership and integrity are impeccable.
"If I had to pick someone to have my back in a sticky situation, he would be at the top of the list every time.”