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Mo Knows….the Rec Center. Mo knows the Red Cross. Mo knows BRCC!

Tue Mar 13, 2018 at 11:57 AM

Maher AL Tayara, aka “Mo” with Red Cross co-workers

Mo (l) with Red Cross co-workers

Maher AL Tayara, aka “Mo”, was born in Lebanon and lived there until 1996. He said that as a child he remembers being very concerned for his families’ safety during the civil war in his home country. “I had friends whose fathers never came home,” he shared.

After moving to the United States, he started and ran his own business in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He and his wife, Laura, decided to sell their vitamin packaging company and move to Virginia in 2015, and settled in the Elkton area.

Shortly after their move, Mo was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had surgery to have the infected kidney removed. Surviving the grim diagnosis and major surgery led Mo to reevaluate his retirement plans, and instead focus on how he was going to use what he felt like was a “second chance at life.” He decided to enroll at Blue Ridge, and will be graduating in May from the college/university transfer program. During his time at BRCC, he has worked part-time in the Rec Center and earned a 4.0 GPA.

Maher AL Tayara, aka “Mo” with Red Cross as a 19-year-old college student at American University of BeirutMo plans to transfer to VCU to pursue a degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. This degree will pair nicely with his extensive experience with the Red Cross. As a 19-year-old college student at American University of Beirut, Mo joined the Red Cross. Since then, he has worked on disaster relief efforts around the world. When asked which of his Red Cross efforts was most inspiring, he answered, “I would say it was my international deployment with the ICRC to Iraq back in 1988 during the war between Iraq and Iran. Also my work with refugees and in war zones during the civil war in Lebanon.” Domestically, he has had deployments to Fort Bragg in North Carolina during hurricane Mathew, to southern Missouri last year after flooding, and most recently to Puerto Rico in December 2017.

Mo’s passion for helping others has inspired him to establish a Red Cross Club at BRCC, which is getting underway this spring. As Club Coordinator for the entire Shenandoah Territory, he oversees Red Cross clubs at UVA, JMU, and now BRCC. Mo said for him, the Red Cross, “Simply related to what I believed in. I always said that working with the Red Cross is like an addiction, but the good kind of addiction, also it is contagious - you spread all over around you but again the good kind of infection.”

BRCC students interested in joining the Red Cross Club can talk to Mo at the Rec Center, or email club advisor Dr. Chris Shaw at shawc@brcc.edu.