For Ken Murby, there wasn’t any hesitation when he came to the rescue of two young men who had been washed off the jetty at Hampton Beach last May 1.
“For me it was just a natural reaction from training,” said Murby, a retired Manchester police officer with 27 years on the force. “You just don’t let somebody drown. I just felt as though I could help and I did.”
Murby, the manager of Hampton Beach State Park, rushed over to help after a camper saw that the two men were in danger. The tide was unusually high that day and waves were washing over the jetty.
“There was obviously people floundering in the water,” Murby said. “One of them was yelling to get the other.”
One man was desperately trying to hold onto a rock as waves crashed over him; the other was wedged in the rocks and trying to help his friend, Murby said.
Murby gripped an iron bar sticking out from the top of the jetty to keep from floating away. He went into the water and was able to drag the man clinging to the rock to safety.
Two Hampton police officers, Robert Turcotte and Andrew Jowett, came to assist. Turcotte carried on his back the man who had been in the water and appeared to have hypothermia. The other man was able to walk out on his own.
Murby said he doesn’t feel like a hero but is grateful he was able to help.
“I’m just glad I was there because there was nobody else that could do it,” Murby said.
This isn’t the first time Murby has risked his life to save someone. And it’s also not the first time he has been recognized by the Union Leader with a Hero award.
While working as a Manchester police officer in the early 1980s, Murby helped save several people during an apartment fire in the old theater block on Hanover Street, where the Palace Theatre is located. Murby made so many trips to get people out that he was overcome by smoke inhalation. The brick building was gutted in the fire and one person died, he said.
The Union Leader Hero Awards honor New Hampshire residents who have risked their lives in the previous year to save or attempt to save the life of another person.
The program is sponsored by Citizens Bank and presented by the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Recipients of the 2014 Union Leader Hero Awards will be honored at a ceremony at 3 p.m. May 13 at the State House in Concord. The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested.
For more information on the program or ceremony, contact Community Relations Manager Shannon Sullivan at 206-7833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.