Strength in Standing Together: A Mother and Father’s Story

Episode Summary

Welcome to Season 2 of the Grief in Progress podcast! In the season's first episode, we introduce the theme of connections and their relationship to grief and loss. We also meet Katrina and Dwayne Murphy, childhood sweethearts who have been married for more than 34 years. Katrina is an educator, and Dwayne is a volunteer and career firefighter who followed his father into the fire service. Katrina and Dwayne share the keys to their enduring connection and the commitment they made to each other at the most difficult moment of their lives–the death of their son, Kendall.
Dwayne and Katrina Murphy
Grief in Progress
Strength in Standing Together: A Mother and Father’s Story

Inside Strength in Standing Together: A Mother and Father’s Story Podcast

Dwayne and Katrina Murphy
Grief in Progress
Strength in Standing Together: A Mother and Father’s Story

Meet the Murphy Family of Indiana

Katrina Murphy

Katrina Murphy

Kendall's Mom

I am a high school secretary/treasurer at our local high school.  I have been there for 32 years.  I love spending time with my family.  My grandchildren have become my life raft.  Dwayne and I love to travel to major league baseball stadiums.  We would love to visit all of them but not sure that will be accomplished.  We have been to 11 of the 30 stadiums.  We also love attending the NFFF events.  We have been to Memorial Weekend, Parent’s Retreats, Kids Camp and the Tree Lighting.  These events have become near and dear to us.  We love meeting new faces and reconnecting with the friends we’ve made from previous events.

We lost our son, Kendall Murphy, on November 10th, 2017.  He was a firefighter with the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department.  He was killed by another firefighter while responding to a PI.  Kendall had a true servant’s heart from a young age.  His grade school teachers were always telling us how he would help kids in his class.  One time a student had a broken foot.  Kendall was always seen carrying his lunch tray, helping him with his books or whatever he needed.  We have tried to carry on serving others.  Every year on his birthday, since we lost him, we “Serve like Murph” and do random acts of kindness for unsuspecting people.

Dwayne Murphy

Kendall's Dad​

I have been involved in the fire service since 1988.  I am currently the Assistant Chief of the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department and career Captain of the City of Washington Fire Department.  Like Katrina, I also enjoy family.  We have a fire pit that you could find me sitting beside if the temperature is 50 degrees or higher.  There’s just something about sitting outside with nature and having a fire going and having Kendall’s dog Topanga laying right next to me.  The grandkids also love being out there.

I want people to know Kendall was the glue that held everyone together.  He was the go to guy for everyone he knew.  From his grandparents, friends, us, or his sister, everyone would call him when they needed help of any kind.  Since his death we have learned just how special he was especially to his friends.  He was the one that kept the group together.  There were three different groups of friends but he could bring them all together and they would get along.  Since his death those groups have dwindled down and they don’t get together like they use to and you could say there is more drama. 

Something Kendall was passionate about was graduating college with no debt.  With his academic scholarships and working through the summers he accomplished that goal.  Since his death we have started The Viking Promise – Kendall Murphy Scholarship.  It is a $100 deposit into incoming Kindergarten students 529 College Savings plans.  If they don’t have one set up, we help them get it going.  Our oldest granddaughter, Emma was the very first recipient of this scholarship.  To date, we have awarded 235 scholarships.  That equals $23,500 given out in 5 years.  His best friends have an annual golf scramble to help raise funds to support the scholarship.  Other ways that we have raised money is with a 5K put on by his fiance’ Jessica (who we still have contact with).  She has since gotten married and moved away from the area, no longer doing the 5K.  Katrina and I then started a fundraiser involving our high school varsity basketball teams.  Since Indiana is a basketball state, we decided to get sponsors for each boys and girls game to pay $10 for every three pointer hit.  It has been a way to keep his memory alive involving his passion for youth and sports.  Please check out the Kendall Murphy Viking Promise Scholarship page for more information or reach out to Katrina or myself.

Dwayne Murphy

Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department (IN)

Age: 27
Date of Death: November 10, 2017

Kendall James Murphy was born May 10, 1990, to Dwayne and Katrina (Lengacher) Murphy. He was welcomed home by his sister, Kelsie (Murphy) Miller, and grandparents, Bert and Barbara Lengacher and Steve and Jean Murphy.

Kendall graduated from Barr-Reeve High School in Montgomery, Indiana, in 2009. During high school he played tennis, basketball, and baseball, receiving varsity letters in each sport. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in sports management and minor in accounting. At the time of his accident he was an insurance agent for German American. Kendall coached the freshmen boys’ basketball team at Barr-Reeve from 2013-2017 and was taking over the 5th grade boys’ program for the 2017-18 season. His love for young children was evident in his daily life. He cherished his two nieces, Emma and Halle Miller. Any chance he got, he was playing hide-n-seek or beauty salon with them. His nephew, Micah Kendall, was born five months after his untimely death.

I want people to know Kendall was the glue that held everyone together. He was the go to guy for everyone he knew. From his grandparents, friends, us, or his sister, everyone would call him when they needed help of any kind.

Kendall's family also includes his sister Kelsie; Brother-in-law, Eric ; Nieces, Emma, Halle and Nephew Micah and his dog, Topanga

Watch Kendall's Hero Tribute


"The Viking Promise" Kendall Murphy Scholarship Program

Kendall Murphy was a disciplined and hard-working former student athlete who graduated from Barr-Reeve in 2009. He moved back to his community to lead and serve others as a coach and volunteer firefighter.  Kendall died in the line of duty on November 10, 2017.  Kendall’s legacy of loving, serving and helping others will live on in “The Viking Promise” Kendall Murphy Scholarship Program.

The Viking Promise Kendall Murphy Scholarship Program addresses two realities of the 21st century:

Quality jobs today and tomorrow require at least some level of post-secondary education, and students with expectations of attending college achieve more at every level of their elementary and secondary education than their peers without such expectations.  This project makes a long-term investment in our community by investing in the academic future of its youngest citizens.  With a long-term commitment/partnership between Barr-Reeve Community Schools and the Scholarship Team, each kindergarten student enrolled in Barr-Reeve Schools, (beginning in the fall of 2018) will be provided with a Kendall Murphy Scholarship of $100.

Through the schools and with the support of experienced financial advisors, parents of kindergarten students will be presented information about the process and scholarship opportunity in a series of evening seminars, and will be provided assistance in completing the application process.  Parents will have to have, or with the help of Barr-Reeve Schools, will create a 529 College Savings account for their student.  The Scholarship Team will then distribute the funds to each student’s 529 College Savings account.  Additional/ongoing contributions can be made by families and community members as the students progress through their K-12 years at school.  It is the ultimate goal of The Viking Promise Kendall Murphy Scholarship Program that every student in Barr-Reeve Schools will have a college savings account which can be used for educational related expenses not only for traditional four-year colleges, but for any accredited post-secondary education, including vocational and trade schools.

What are the benefits?

At its most basic level, the Viking Promise Kendall Murphy Scholarship program will increase the percentage of Barr-Reeve graduates continuing their education beyond high school.  Research indicates that establishing a college savings account also provides the following benefits:
  • Students are nearly seven times more likely to graduate high school
  • Students are two times more likely to attend college
  • Students maintain a higher rate of attendance and a lower rate of discipline referrals
  • Parents begin planning for their child’s future at an earlier age with guidance from a professional
  • Parents improve their own financial literacy and long-term economic stability

Thanks to this long-term investment by the Barr-Reeve Schools and Scholarship Team, The Viking Promise Kendall Murphy program will help today’s and future Barr-Reeve Viking students be better prepared to lead more productive and stable lives in the many decades to come!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *