The drive up to Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary finds you …Read More
As we recently celebrated Memorial Day, we took time to remember those who fearlessly and sacrificially serve our country both in the present and in the past. While we rightfully honor these individuals, sometimes it is easy to forget each person in the military brings their own unique story. They often have a family who loves them, ambition to pursue their dreams, and friendships that are unbreakable, yet they often give up the things they love most to preserve the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
The story of Elisha Moser, John Ray Roberts, and Gary Cagle is a story of three Monroe County boys who were all best friends from childhood through adulthood. As they entered high school Cody Moses would also join this strong bond of friends. All four friends currently serve or are going to serve our country in the military when they are deployed.
Their story is one told by their mothers looking back on their childhood and teenage years as they grew up together. John Ray Roberts and Gary Cagle met when they were young. John Ray’s mother, Robin, babysat Gary Cagle and his brother; however, it was in fifth grade that John Ray, Gary, and Elisha started developing an unbreakable friendship. Scarlett Moser, Elisha’s mom states, “They just clicked from the very beginning and were the best of friends.”
Throughout their school years they always played sports together. The boys played both baseball and football together, and not only were they athletic, but they were also very creative and funny too. John Ray’s mother, Robin, states, “Baseball is what really brought the boys together, but as they got older they loved to make their own movies, and they were so dumb,” she laughs. “I remember a few of the movies they made in high school. They did a Godzilla movie where they were ninjas; they made a Romeo and Juliet movie, and a Bigfoot movie where they spent the entire video trying not to laugh. They were hilarious!”
The boys were always very creative and extraverts. Robin remembers during timeouts while playing travel baseball, the boys would dance and sing on the field to the music playing over the loud speaker.
Elisha and John Ray loved theatre, and were in the school’s “Snoopy” production one year. They even made their own costumes for the performance. Robin states, “They were always a mess – always into something!”
In high school, they did other things together as well. They worked together at the local A & W, and they served as leaders at Sequoyah High School. John Ray was President, Gary was Vice President, and Elisha was Treasurer. They also were great friends with Cody Moses. The four boys spent a lot of time together in high school. Gary recalls they “loved the outdoors, bonfires, and simply spending time in the mountains together.”
As their time in high school drew to a close, they all four felt led in a similar direction. They all wanted to serve in the military in some capacity. Gary remembers always thinking about the military when he was younger.
Belinda Cagle, Gary’s mother, says, “Gary always loved his country and the flag. Every morning at school, he would raise and lower the American flag at Sequoyah High School. He always had a love for his country, so it wasn’t a surprise to me the path he has chosen. His grandfather was also a POW in the Army. One thing is for sure – I definitely listen to the news a lot more and pay more attention to what is going on in the world.”
It was after attending the American Legion Boys State that Gary decided he wanted to be an officer in the military and be equipped to lead soldiers. He decided he wanted to go into the military the beginning of his senior year. When John Ray discovered that Gary was going, he wanted more information as well. They both ended up attending and graduating from the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.
Gary states, “It meant so much to have John Ray with me. It was nice having a familiar face helping you along while you are there.” While they were at The Citadel, Elisha took a different route and went to Berea College on a baseball scholarship. He graduated from Berea College in Kentucky and is now on active duty with the Marines. Their high school buddy, Cody Moses, enlisted in the Air Force right after high school. John Ray is getting ready to attend Southern Seminary working to be a Chaplain in the Army after he graduates.
Today, the boys still keep in touch and are wonderful friends. John Ray Roberts was married over Memorial Day weekend and Elisha, Gary, and Cody were all groomsmen. They continue to keep in touch with one another and share the laughter, memories, and stories that will be with them for a lifetime.
Elisha Moser is currently on active duty serving as a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corp. John Ray is a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, but is not active while he is attending Seminary. Gary Cagle is on active duty and is also a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army and a Platoon Leader of the 690th Medical Company (Ground Ambulance), and Cody Moses is a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force on active duty.
As these four friends who have shared life together continue on different paths, they are united in their friendship, their memories, and their desire to sacrificially serve our great nation.