Merrimack school resource officer receives Lifetime honor
By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent |
May 05. 2014 8:56PM
School Resource Officer Mike Murray of the Merrimack Police Department receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NH Police, Fire and EMS Foundation. Murray is joined by his girlfriend, Heather Gage. (Courtesy)
MERRIMACK — A local police officer who has helped mentor, guide and protect area students for more than a decade has been honored for his leadership.
Officer Michael Murray recently received a Police Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Police, Fire and EMS Foundation. Murray, the school resource officer at Merrimack High School, says he is honored and humbled by the recognition.
“I really don’t feel like I did anything special. I am just doing what I do,” Murray said this week.
Police Chief Mark Doyle nominated Murray for the award, which was presented on April 23 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.
“Over the last 13 years, Officer Murray has become an important influence with students, teachers, faculty and staff at the school,” reads a posting on the New Hampshire Police, Fire and EMS Foundation website. “Officer Murray has the unique ability to make each person he encounters feel better about themselves, and helped more than one student travel down a better path for them to become productive and resourceful members of society.”
In addition to being a positive influence at the high school, he has also coached various sports and served as a class advisor to continue his mentoring efforts.
“Officer Murray has taken his role as the school resource officer and made it into something that students and teachers look up to. He is highly depended on to keep the peace and act as a guidance counselor all at the same time. He handles both with professionalism and compassion,” according to the statement.
On Monday, Murray said the challenging job actually comes fairly easy to him, as he tries to focus on the students and their mindset.
“I think you need the right personality for this job. You have to give respect to get it back,” he said, admitting there is a fine line between a student and adult relationship. “You can’t fake it with kids. They have to genuinely know that you want them to do well.”
Murray is serving his 14th year as a school resource officer in Merrimack, although he has been with the local police department for 26 years.
When Murray isn’t working at the school, he is actively involved in the New Hampshire Special Olympics, raising money for the organization and organizing events such as the Law Enforcement Torch Run. He also assists with the Special Olympics in New Hampshire each winter and summer, and has been selected twice to represent the state internationally as an ambassador.
In 2010, Murray was chosen to participate in the final leg of the 2010 Law Enforcement Torch Run in Nebraska, running several miles for nine consecutive days throughout the state to bring the Flame of Hope to the Special Olympics USA National Games.
Murray, who has been a volunteer for the Special Olympics for more than 20 years, also participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run in 2007 when the games were held in China.
“In this career, you often deal with the sadder side of life, but the Special Olympics is the best police therapy there is,” said Murray. “I definitely get more out of it than I put into it.”
Murray was one of eight people to be honored by the New Hampshire Police, Fire and EMS Foundation. Also recognized at its 2014 annual awards ceremony were Capt. Ron Anstey of the Londonderry Fire Department; Chief Robert Wright of Washington Fire and Rescue; Lt. Brad Gould of the Dover Police Department; John Burdette of Stewart’s Ambulance Service in Meredith; Russell Osgood of Portsmouth; Nicholas Halias of the New Hampshire State Police; and Det. Sgt. Edward Shaughnessy of the Bradford Police Department.