By Jon Lane
Sad news broke last night when George Murray, who enjoyed an unforgettable afternoon at Yankee Stadium on July 22 thanks to HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel), lost his battle with ALS.
HOPE Week was the Yankees’ wonderful community program that publicized five remarkable stories intended to inspire individuals into action in their own communities. The organization surprised Murray and his wife Kim – on the day the couple celebrated their ninth anniversary – and son Trason with a meet-and-greet with Yankees players in the Billy Martin suite followed by a postgame tour of Yankee Stadium. During an interview with Murray, I brought up how Yankees legends Lou Gehrig and Jim “Catfish” Hunter lived with such a terrible disease with dignity.
“I never attempted to compare myself to those real men,” he said. “I think if we all look inside us, then maybe we can have some of that strength.”
Allow me to put Murray in the same category as those men and many more. Murray is a hero. He served our country as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and performed a peacekeeping mission in Haiti. Murray is a role model. When he found out he had ALS, he was ready to fight back and live his life as a committed husband and father.
I only knew Murray for 10 minutes but I’ll never forget him. I left the suite telling myself he was one of the most courageous invididuals I’ve ever met.
Phil Hughes shared his thoughts on the positive impact he made on George Murray and his family.
“Just the expression on his face and the joy we were able to give him on that day … you saw a guy who really looked like a fighter. It’s tough and I know a few of the guys took it hard,” Hughes said. To be able to bring him a bright spot during his last days is something I’ll always remember.
“People get caught up that we’re the real heroes. That’s not the case. We play baseball. This guy served our country. He’s way more of a hero than any one of us.”