Assemblywoman Shannon Grove with Jim Murray of Tehachapi at an event at the state Capitol. Murray was named "Veteran of the Year" for the 34th Assembly District. Photo courtesy of Office of Shannon Grove
A Tehachapi man has been honored by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove as the 2014 Veteran of the Year for the 34th Assembly District.
The honoree is Tehachapi resident Corp. James A. Murray — better known as Jim Murray, a regular contributor to the Tehachapi News.
“Not only did Murray provide courageous service in battle as a forward observer with the Marines during the Korean War, but he went on to spend his entire life sharing his love for people in practical and personal ways with the needy people,” Grove said, adding that he is “the perfect representation of that group of Americans we have come to identify as the ‘Greatest Generation.’ He is brave. He is honest. And he has lived a life of service, not for fame or recognition, but because he believed it was the right thing to do.”
After joining the United States Marine Corps in 1950 and serving in Korea as a weapons company mortar gunner on the front lines, Murray returned home as a man with a passion to serve. Becoming a Marine changed him from a carefree boy to a man of purpose.
In a news release Grove provided a short snapshot of Murray’s acts of service during his lifetime so far:
• He and his late wife, Marilyn, served the needs of Camp Pendleton families, while he volunteered for Oceanside Military Outreach, helping kids in need of food and mothers needing childhood education.
• Murray had a heart for the homeless. He counseled homeless vets on Skid Row in Los Angeles, regularly hosted homeless people in his home, and strove to let every homeless vet know they there loved by God.
• Murray helped start rescue missions and orphanages all over Mexico.
• He helped start several Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Southern California and worked to educate women on the options available to them.
Later in life, Murray moved to Bear Valley Springs. Three years after losing Marilyn to cancer he married his wife, Dorothy. They divide their time between Tehachapi and the Salton Sea. He has been passionate about the preservation of the inland sea and written numerous articles for newspapers in that area concerning the topic.
In Tehachapi he has written articles highlighting the good work of non-profits and most recently the occasional “Meet the Pastor” column as well as being active in coordinating community prayer events.
Shannon Grove and Murray were joined by other veterans and elected officials from throughout the state for the seventh annual Veteran of the Year Recognition Luncheon at the State Capitol. At the event, lawmakers thanked veterans for the sacrifices they made to serve our country.
"It is a great privilege and honor to receive this award from Assemblywoman Shannon Grove,” said Murray. “I appreciate her support for our military and their families and I will use this recognition as a way to serve those who are in the military and those who are in need. Shannon is another example of those who have served our country and those who continue to serve. God bless our military and God bless the USA."
Grove represents the citizens of California’s 34th Assembly District, covering a majority of Kern County.