David Moyer, Northampton Community College (NCC) nursing graduate, turned his nursing degree into a way to educate, assist and care for countless patients and people. After graduating in 1970, Moyer started work as a labor and delivery nurse at St. Luke’s University Health Network, formerly, St. Luke’s Hospital, a job that allowed him to witness miracles daily. From 1989, in the height of the AIDS epidemic, he transitioned to administering HIV/AIDS tests and counseling prison inmates and patients at many medical facilities who suffered from the disease.
“When I was testing someone for HIV, I prepared them for a positive test result,” Moyer said. In 1992, AIDS was the leading cause of death in the United States for men between 25 to 44 and the fourth leading cause of death among women of the same age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Moyer advised patients to use protection when sexually active and helped drug users form healthier habits. In addition, he educated public school students about HIV/AIDS from a medical caregiver’s perspective.
Moyer’s numerous contributions to community health began when, inspired by his mother’s work as an LPN, he considered a career in nursing. After a stint as a hospital corpsman in the Navy during the Vietnam War, Moyer returned to his position as an attendant at the Allentown State Hospital. He and two colleagues attended a presentation about a newly established nursing program at NCC. Using G.I. Bill funding, he made the decision to enroll in the program, working as a night shift janitor at Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) to support himself.
While in school, Moyer lived with his mother. He relied on her emotional support, the encouragement of fellow Navy reserve members, and Allentown State Hospital colleagues to meet the challenge of earning a nursing degree. Making it through the rigorous program prepared him to meet the needs of his patients.
A passion for helping others is apparent through Moyer’s work educating and supporting the community. He volunteers as the contingency chairperson for Fighting Aids Continuously Together (FACT) and received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. FACT financially assists people living with HIV/AIDS who receive care at Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network. Moyer reviews anonymous applications for financial aid, and FACT pays for such things as medicine, rent, tires, and funerals. He volunteers as an educator with the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and has served as the parish nurse for Grace Episcopal Church in Allentown.
His Christian faith has sustained Moyer through his accomplishments and sorrows. When Moyer’s husband, Will Klopp, died on September 19, 2014, of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease, two fellow parishioners ended their vacation early to care for Moyer. Moyer and Klopp shared their lives for 34 years and had two weddings. The first was in their friends’ Palm Springs, CA home, and the second was a momentous occasion, getting married in church after same-sex marriage became legal nationwide.
Since Klopp’s passing, Moyer has lived with his platonic friend and fellow parishioner, Kelly Cannon, whom he met at church in 1999. Cannon describes Moyer’s defining characteristics as empathetic, gregarious, and devout.
“He’s very prayerful. He loves to pray,” Cannon said.
Finding a supportive and welcoming church took time. Moyer used to belong to a church where he did not feel comfortable coming out. When Moyer’s mother died, he asked to talk to the pastor. “He said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t help you because she was not a member of this church.’” Moyer recalled. Moyer immediately left the church and drifted away from his relationship with God.
When one of Moyer’s clients at the Allentown Health Bureau lost a partner to AIDS, he attended the memorial service, at which 95 percent of those gathered identified as LGBTQ+. That’s when he began to rediscover his faith. In the 1990s, an acquaintance invited him to Grace Episcopal Church in Allentown, which had a female priest. “She really turned it all around for me,” Moyer said, noting that his former congregation prohibited ordaining women.
Moyer’s role in the church is a verger, symbolically clearing the way for the procession that begins and ends church services. He is also taking a Sewanee University course in education for ministry.
Whether in marriage, his studies, work or volunteering, friends say, Moyer gives his whole self.
“Anything he does, you can see his passion,” said longtime friend, and Moyer’s fellow HIV/AIDS educator, Bill Aull.