Play park to hon­our fallen sol­dier

Fam­ily mem­bers of Cpl. Jamie Mur­phy swollen with pride by an­nounce­ment


An im­pres­sive new play park that will be con­structed in North River on June 8 will be named in hon­our of a Cana­dian sol­dier who made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice for his coun­try.

It was re­vealed dur­ing a poignant cer­e­mony at All Hal­lows El­e­men­tary on Mon­day, May 13 that the fa­cil­ity will be called the Cpl. Jamie Bren­dan Mur­phy Play Park.

Mur­phy, a na­tive of Con­cep­tion Har­bour, was killed dur­ing a sui­cide bomber at­tack on his ve­hi­cle on Jan. 27, 2004. He was the first New­found­lan­der killed dur­ing the war in Afghanistan. Three other Cana­dian soldiers were in­jured in the at­tack.

Mur­phy, a mem­ber of the 3rd Bat­tal­ion of the Royal Cana­dian Reg­i­ment, was just 26 at the time.

Sev­eral mem­bers of Mur­phy’s fam­ily at­tended the nam­ing cer­e­mony, in­clud­ing his mother, Alice Mur­phy, and his two sis­ters, Rose­mary Ryan and Norma Mur­phy.

The Mur­phys later toured the site on which the new play park will be erected, and were over­come with a sense of pride and emo­tion.

“He would love it,” Alice com­mented, her voice crack­ing with emo­tion. “This will be won­der­ful.”

An­other mile­stone

Three mem­bers of the Cana­dian Forces, in­clud­ing one sol­dier — Cpl. Steven Drake — from Mur­phy’s reg­i­ment, along with two re­servists with the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment — Sgt. Lawrence Hicks of Bay Roberts and Mas­ter Cpl. Lori-Ann Hoyles of South River — were also in at­ten­dance. They were joined by Le­gion mem­bers from through­out the re­gion.

Ef­forts to raise money for the play park have been on­go­ing for sev­eral months, and the nam­ing cer­e­mony was yet an­other mile­stone on the path to cre­at­ing what sup­port­ers say will be a first-rate fa­cil­ity for chil­dren in the re­gion.

Prin­ci­pal Kevin Giles said there was no hes­i­ta­tion when it came time to se­lect a name. He said the play park will be a place for chil­dren to so­cial­ize and ex­er­cise in a safe, fun and re­spect­ful en­vi­ron­ment.

By nam­ing it in mem­ory of Cpl. Mur­phy, it will be car­ry­ing on a legacy of love, hope and jus­tice for gen­er­a­tions to come, Giles ex­plained.

“That’s what he stood for,” said the prin­ci­pal. “And we carry those words on our backs ev­ery day.

“Jamie loved his com­mu­nity, his prov­ince and his fam­ily, and he wanted to make sure he could con­trib­ute the kinds of stan­dards we take for granted … to other coun­tries of the world. He wanted to cre­ate hope, and he gave his life for those be­liefs. “He made a tremen­dous sac­ri­fice.” The cer­e­mony was es­pe­cially mov­ing for Fr. Ger­ald West­cott, rec­tor for the Angli­can Parish of the Res­ur­rec­tion in South River.

Fr. West­cott was given the dif­fi­cult task of in­form­ing the Mur­phy fam­ily about their son’s death, and said it was an ex­pe­ri­ence he will never for­get.

Fr. West­cott’s own son, Matthew West­cott, a re­serve of­fi­cer with the 37 Ser­vice Bat­tal­ion, also served in Afghanistan. Fr. West­cott said he of­ten thought of “Jamie” and the Mur­phy fam­ily while anx­iously await­ing his son’s re­turn.

Fr. West­cott de­scribed Cpl. Mur­phy as a “brave and proud Cana­dian who gave his life so other chil­dren could have a chance at a bet­ter life.”

Fundrais­ing ef­forts

Mean­while, the play park will be con­structed on the site of an ex­ist­ing play­ground, at the rear of All Hal­lows El­e­men­tary. The play­ground was con­demned by the Eastern School Dis­trict last year, and was re­opened with a limited num­ber of play struc­tures last spring, fol­low­ing a de­ter­mined ef­fort by a group of par­ents and school staff.

Ef­forts to con­struct a new play park were bol­stered sev­eral months ago when the pro­ject re­ceived a Help­ing Hand Award from Let Them Be Kids, an all vol­un­teer, non-profit, com­mu­nity based or­ga­ni­za­tion that sup­ports the build­ing of play­grounds, skate parks and fit­ness parks across Canada and be­yond.

Since 2008, Let Them Be Kids has sup­ported over 160 projects across Canada.

At All Hal­lows, ev­ery dol­lar raised for the pur­chase of play park equip­ment will be matched by Let Them Be Kids.

Up to last week, the lo­cal com­mit­tee had raised $70,000, and was clos­ing in on its $100,000 goal.

With a match­ing grant from Let Them Be Kids, a new $200,000 fa­cil­ity will be erected on June 8.

“This play park will be sup­ported

“This play park will be

sup­ported by love, wrapped in hope and built in recog­ni­tion of the needs

of this area.” — Kevin Giles, prin­ci­pal, All

Hal­lows El­e­men­tary

by love, wrapped in hope and built in recog­ni­tion of the needs of this area,” Prin­ci­pal Giles added.

The play park will also in­clude a me­mo­rial gar­den, and other ameni­ties.

Or­ga­niz­ers wi l l con­tinue a fundrais­ing blitz in the com­ing weeks, and any­one seek­ing more in­for­ma­tion can go on­line at the fol­low­ing:


Pho­tos by Terry Roberts/the Com­pass

Alice Mur­phy of Con­cep­tion Har­bour smiles proudly as she sur­veys the play­ground at All Hal­lows El­e­men­tary in North River on May 13. A new play park to be con­structed at the site on June 8 will be named in hon­our of her son, the late Cpl. Jamie Bren­dan Mur­phy. Mur­phy was killed in Afghanistan in Jan­uary 2004.

Rose­mary Ryan (left) and Alice Mur­phy chat with Daniel Gosse (right), a stu­dent in Grade 1 at All Hal­lows El­e­men­tary in North River.

A pro­posed new play park to be built at the rear of All Hal­lows El­e­men­tary will be named in mem­ory of Cpl. Jamie Bren­dan Mur­phy of Con­cep­tion Har­bour. Seen here tour­ing the site on May 13 are, from left, Kearsty Ryan (niece), Alice Mur­phy (mother), Fr. Ger­ald West­cott, teacher and play park com­mit­tee mem­ber Leanne Lit­tle­john, Rose­mary Ryan (sis­ter), Je­nessa Mur­phy (niece) and Norma Mur­phy (sis­ter).

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