March 15, 2000 - Issue: Vol. 146, No. 29 — Daily Edition106th Congress (1999 - 2000) - 2nd Session
TRIBUTE TO JOHN D. MURPHY; Congressional Record Vol. 146, No. 29
(Extensions of Remarks - March 15, 2000)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E320-E321] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] TRIBUTE TO JOHN D. MURPHY ______ HON. CARRIE P. MEEK of florida in the house of representatives Wednesday, March 15, 2000 Mrs. MEEK of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to a kind and decent man who lived his life helping others, and lost his life helping others. John D. Murphy coached youth basketball and volunteered in his community. He attended the Million Man March, as well as the protest in Tallahassee against Gov. Jeb Bush's One Florida Plan to dismantle our state's affirmative action program. He was always thinking of others. On the way home from the One Florida march, he came upon a chain- reaction auto accident that killed two people and injured 24. Despite the pleadings of his sisters, John Murphy left his van and went to help the injured. He was kill when a tractor-trailer filled with lumber overturned and buried him on the highway. Mr. Speaker, John Murphy's sudden and tragic death is a source of great grief in his family and throughout our community. I join with his loved ones and those whose lives he touched in extending my deepest sympathy for their loss. I would like to submit an article about John Murphy that appeared in the Miami Herald: [From the Miami Herald, Mar. 10, 2000] Loved Ones Feel Loss of I-10 Pileup Victim (By Adam Ramirez) His sisters begged him not to leave the van and venture into the smoke-filled highway, but John D. Murphy insisted on trying to help motorists injured in Wednesday's horrific 23- vehicle crash on Interstate 10 near Wellborn, Fla. Murphy, 36, who attended the Million Man March and coached youth sports for 12 years, was coming home from the protest of Gov. Jeb Bush's One Florida plan in Tallahassee. The Plantation man was killed when a tractor-trailer filled with lumber overturned and buried him on the highway. ``That's the kind of guy John was--he was always trying to help people, no matter who they were,'' longtime friend Calvin Joy said outside Murphy's Plantation home in Park Estates. ``He devoted his life to helping people--and that's how he died.'' Two other people were killed and at least 24 injured in the chain-reaction accident caused in part by heavy smoke on the highway about 90 miles east of Tallahassee in northern Florida, officials said. Also killed were truck driver Ben L. Helmuth III of Claxton, Ga., and Sheila Lindeck, 43, of Jacksonville, the Florida Highway Patrol said. VERY SCARY SCENE ``It was a very scary scene when Mr. Murphy ran in there-- smoke and flames every-where,'' said Scott Pate, Suwannee County deputy emergency management director who arrived first on the scene. ``He was a true Good Samaritan.'' Twenty-three cars and trucks slammed into one another about 8 a.m. after some of them slowed and stopped when they suddenly came upon a cloud of smoke. Seventeen miles of highway near Wellborn were closed after the accident but were reopened Thursday morning. Murphy's sisters, Lydia and Jeryle Murphy, watched helplessly as he walked into the smoke and flames. A manager at BellSouth for six years, Murphy was driving a rental van with his sister and two of their children when they hit a thick patch of smoke and pulled over. MISSING HALF HOUR ``John told them he saw people in the fire and smoke, and he had to go help them,'' Joy said. Murphy had been the best man in Joy's wedding. ``About 30 minutes later, his sisters were asking police to find him.'' They didn't realize he was only a few feet away. Erik Gebauer, of Melbourne, said he was driving a Mustang that slid under a tractor-trailer. ``I don't understand how I lived through that,'' Gebauer said Wednesday, his voice [[Page E321]] shaking. ``All I can remember was pushing that freaking door. I felt death right behind me. I can't believe I made it.'' Murphy drove the family to the state capital Monday night to participate in Tuesday's march against One Florida and was driving home Wednesday morning. A longtime volunteer, Murphy served as a basketball and football coach for children ages 8 to 12 at nearby YMCA and Police Athletic League teams. A graduate of Tampa Technical College, he prided himself on being notoriously frugal, Joy said. ``He would drive five miles out of his way if he found gas two pennies cheaper,'' Joy said with a chuckle. ``John was very active, on the MLK committee and active on city boards in Plantation. But more than anything, he loved his little daughter with all his heart--nothing came before her.'' ____________________