"One of the soldiers has gone on home," said Ronnie Bass, executive director of Someone Cares of Atlanta. Filling the shoes of Doderick Moore will be difficult, he said.
"People looked up to him. He had so much compassion. He did peer groups around the city, and he touched a lot of young people," Bass said.
Doderick Moore, 30, died after being hit by a car in Atlanta early Monday morning.
Moore, who was African American and who became HIV positive at a very young age, was able to make a difference in a very vulnerable group, Bass said. Moore went into clubs and neighborhoods, taking his message to where young African-American males who have sex with males could hear his story and relate to it.
One of the biggest issues facing the gay community across the country is an epidemic of HIV infection in young African-American men who have sex with men. A report released in early 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 26 percent of all new HIV infections are among males 13 to 24 years old, of all races.
Moore, who had a dazzling smile, shared his story in straight talk, with the hope that young men would get tested and practice safe sex.
But he also shared an important message of hope for young, gay African-American men who were HIV positive, Bass said.
"Live," is the message, said Bass. "HIV is not going to kill you. Something else probably will before HIV does."
Moore will be missed, Bass said.
"It's not always someone who's degreed-up who can reach people. Doderick could reach people."