A Family Fueled by Service

January 26, 2024
Colleen Newquist

Love of country runs deep in Hertz Foundation donor and parent Marcie Moynihan. “We grew up very patriotic,” said Moynihan, the daughter of an Air Force fighter pilot. 

Every three years during her childhood, her six siblings and parents moved to a new military base in Europe or the United States. Moynihan recalled how the daily base activity would come to a halt at the end of the workday for the “Retreat” bugle call, no matter where in the world they were stationed.  

“Traffic stopped, pilots and soldiers got out of their cars, and they’d turn and salute the flag,” she said. 

When her daughter, Kelly Moynihan, was named a Hertz Fellow in 2012, she was impressed by the level of financial support—and awed by the expectation that fellows serve the country in times of crisis. 

“As I learned more about the Hertz Foundation, and that Kelly could theoretically be part of a team that helps the United States in times of crisis, I thought, ‘That’s brilliant.’
– Marcie Moynihan

Growing up in a military family, Moynihan embraces the ideal of service to the nation, even when it means a loved one is put in harm’s way. The Vietnam War loomed large in her childhood, with her father serving tours of duty when she was in 6th grade and again when she was a senior in high school. “A tour of duty was one calendar year, or a hundred missions flown over the Red River into North Vietnam. It was dangerous, and really scary. My dad had a lot of friends, like 20 friends, who were POWs in Vietnam for many years,” she said.  

When the Vietnam War ended, her father continued his military career stateside, and Moynihan went to college in Florida, where she met her husband, Frank. The couple settled in Austin, Texas, and Moynihan pursued her personal pathway to serve as a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse. 

The NICU world was in its infancy when she began a career that would ultimately span 43 years. “We didn’t even have infant ventilators. Over the years, I saw the evolution of care, equipment, and technology. A lot of babies died back then. Today, they would survive and go on to do really well.”  

Serving the world through a healthcare career is a practice picked up by Kelly Moynihan. Kelly, who has a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in biological engineering, is associate director and program lead with Asher Biotherapeutics, a company that focuses on cancer immunotherapies. 

Kelly’s career choice was influenced by her father’s long battle with cancer, an illness that began when Kelly was still in high school, her mother said. Frank Moynihan died in 2020 but not before attending Kelly’s dissertation defense in 2017. “I think that’s the last trip he ever took,” Moynihan said. 

Now retired, Moynihan has time to read the Hertz Foundation newsletter “cover to cover,” she said, which inspires her to give. “The things Hertz Fellows are doing are amazing.” 

For Moynihan, donating to the foundation is a way to support our country. 

“Initially, I gave in gratitude, as a thank you to the Hertz Foundation for helping my daughter.  But then as I learned more about the Hertz Foundation, and that Kelly could theoretically be part of a team that helps the United States in times of crisis, I thought, ‘That’s brilliant.’ John Hertz must have been a very smart man,” she said.

“I really believe in the Hertz Foundation. You’ve got to put your money where your mouth is,” Moynihan said.