Remembering Alwal Anheuser Beims Moore, 1925-2022

This week, Young America’s Foundation lost a leader and a titan of our cause.  When it comes to the Reagan Ranch, there is no one like Al Moore.

Young America’s Foundation stepped forward to save the Reagan Ranch in 1998, and many generous Americans joined our efforts, making extraordinary, sacrificial gifts to protect Ronald Reagan’s beloved Santa Barbara ranch home and the principles, values, and ideas this national treasure represents.

But no one did more during their lifetime than our friend from St. Louis.

Al’s support of Young America’s Foundation goes all the way back to 1990, well before we saved the Reagan Ranch. But Al really dug into YAF once he learned about our plan to save Ronald Reagan’s home and share its lessons with young people.

He was fond of talking about the Reagan Ranch Membership Card bearing his name that YAF sent him in the mail, the result of a $25 gift to support this new campaign to protect the Ranch. Al went on to do far, far more for the Ranch, but he was proud of that membership card. It meant that he was right there at the very start.

Through the years, Al stepped forward at critical moments, decision points that would impact the future of the Ranch, the future of YAF, the future of our Movement. He gave the lead gift to complete the Reagan Ranch Center, YAF’s Schoolhouse for Reaganism, but, when given the opportunity to put his name on the building, Al decided that it would be more appropriate to name the building after Ronald Reagan than himself.

But Al’s heart was at the Ranch itself. He identified with Ronald Reagan’s love for the outdoors and his work ethic. He loved the vistas and the trails, and getting behind the wheel of an ATV to drive himself around the property, just as the President enjoyed driving the trails in his beloved Jeep. Al insisted on driving himself well after his failing eyesight made driving seem risky and inadvisable. But, after successfully navigating the rugged terrain, Al took joy in giving any doubters a hard time. “I’m mad at you,” he would say. “You didn’t trust me!”

We certainly learned to trust Al, to trust that at those critical moments he would step forward with bold leadership and remarkable generosity. This often happened during meetings of the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors. Al and his dear wife, Bette, served as some of the earliest members of this esteemed board.

Al participated in these meetings faithfully, in person for many years, and then via Zoom for more recent gatherings. He never missed a meeting. Al enjoyed sitting back and listening to his fellow board members deliberate over big decisions. Colleagues such as Attorney General Ed Meese, Judge William Clark, retired Secret Service agent John Barletta, Governor George Allen, board chairman Frank Donatelli, and so many other great leaders would weigh the pros and cons of significant expenditures or new approaches.

After much was said, Al loved to interject, at just the right moment, to stop the debate. Al’s statement usually went something like this: “We all know what needs to be done. And, well, Bette and I are going to see that it is done.”

Al and Bette, who passed away in 2014, ultimately sponsored Ronald Reagan’s Tack Barn, gave a gift to acquire what we now call the Moore Ranch, and then expanded the boundaries of the property yet again with the acquisition of the Moore Family Ranch, in all more than 180 acres added to Rancho del Cielo’s original 688 to protect the borders of this special property.

Most recently, Al and his family made another leadership gift to create the Moore Family Retreat Center on the Moore Family Ranch. This overnight retreat facility, once completed, will allow conservative leaders, students, and other guests to take inspiration from the Ranch in the Heavens the way Ronald Reagan did.

All told, Al and his family invested more than $15 million in the Reagan Ranch and Reagan Ranch Center during Al’s lifetime.

Every student who was given the opportunity to walk in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps at Rancho del Cielo over the past nearly 25 years, and the countless more who will enjoy the same privilege in the years ahead, was directly impacted by Al and his leadership.

Every conservative leader who learned and took inspiration from Ronald Reagan’s example at the Ranch has Al Moore to thank.

Every supporter who was inspired by YAF’s efforts to protect and share his legacy, and stood shoulder to shoulder with Al in investing in this cause, followed the lead of the great American who propelled this project forward at so many critical junctures.

Al leaves a remarkable legacy with his own family. But Al leaves an even larger legacy at the Reagan Ranch, the millions who have been or will be inspired by Ronald Reagan’s life and example found at the Western White House.

It is fair to say that the Reagan Ranch is Al’s legacy. 

Like Ronald Reagan, like each of us, Al had a rendezvous with destiny. He took Ronald Reagan’s words to heart: “We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

YAF President Governor Scott Walker noted, “Al Moore took a leap of faith time and time again to build what we have at the Reagan and Moore Ranches. His legacy will be far more than physical properties. It will be the thousands of young people whose spark is lit with a love for freedom. On their behalf, we thank Al Moore!”

Al did this, and more. Future generations who still know the America that Ronald Reagan loved, that Al Moore loved, will look back in gratitude for Al and his leadership.