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Parents dedicate Mt. Odin playground to their son, Lucas Murphy

| Thursday, July 11, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Provided photo of Lucas Murphy
Linda and Paul Murphy unveil the sign for the playground built in memory of their son.

Lucas Paul Murphy's memory lives on in the laughter of children.

Organizers of Murph's Open, a Greensburg golf outing in its 17th year, have used proceeds to buy $20,000 in equipment for a playground at the Mt. Odin recreation complex named in Murphy's memory.

Participants dedicated the playground last week.

“It's nice to know ... he's remembered, and in addition, children can play there, experience joy there,” said Murphy's mother, Linda.

Murphy, 21, a 1994 Greensburg Salem graduate and a Penn State University student, died in March 1997 in a traffic accident in Utah. At the time, he was serving a college internship in Vale, Colo.

Linda Murphy, a retired Greensburg Salem teacher, and her husband, Paul Murphy, a former district teacher, principal, administrator and football coach, donate two $2,000 scholarships annually to Greensburg Salem students in their son's memory.

The golf outing began in 1997, a few months after Murphy's death.

“A group of friends wanted to know if they could have a golf outing in his memory,” Linda Murphy said.

They organized the inaugural event.

Jennifer Yarnell Detore of Greensburg, a classmate of Lucas Murphy, then continued the tradition, with the help of Linda Murphy and others.

“She's wonderful,” Murphy said of Detore. “I just can't say enough about her.”

“Luke was one of my best friends,” Detore said. “I loved him and miss him dearly.”

Detore estimated the outings have raised a total of more than $100,000.

Classmates and friends of Lucas Murphy come from across the country to attend the golf event held during the first week of July, Linda Murphy said.

The outing has boasted a full 36 foursomes for each of the 17 years, and there is a waiting list to play, Detore said.

Detore suggested using proceeds to buy playground equipment because the outing is a family event, what Linda Murphy refers to as “a reunion.”

“There was playground equipment there, but it was for younger children,” Murphy explained.

The equipment, which was purchased late last year and installed earlier this year, is aimed to appeal to children who are 6 to 12 years old, Detore said.

Future proceeds may be used to make other improvements at the playground, Detore said.

Interest raised from the proceeds, which are kept in an account with the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, have funded the scholarships. The scholarships began at $1,000 and have grown since.

“Education is important, and it's important to us,” Linda Murphy said.

Detore said she's glad her friend is being remembered and children are finding joy in the equipment.

“It's nice to give back and have a permanent marker there to remember him by,” she said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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