Miss Murray awarded the Ellen Hardin Walworth Medal for Patriotism
On December 10th, Patrice Murray, Oak Hill Academy’s Director of Personnel/Administration, received the Ellen Hardin Walworth Medal for Patriotism. It was awarded by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Shrewsbury Towne-Monmouth Chapter. This national award, which was named after one of the four founders of the DAR, was the first for this local DAR. It honors an adult (21 years or older) who has displayed outstanding patriotism in the promotion of our American ideals of “God, Home, and Country” through faithful and meritorious service to community, state or nation. Leslie Clark, Regent of the DAR, presented the award to Murray at a luncheon at Salt Creek Grille, Rumson, on December 10th. DAR membership is open to any woman over the age of 18 who is able to prove lineal, bloodline descent from an ancestor who was in the Revolutionary War. The DAR promotes historic preservation, education and patriotism.
Murray has been organizing Oak Hill Academy’s Veterans Day programs since November 2001. They have grown into a 2.5 hours yearly program that features the students and staff at Oak Hill Academy through dramatic readings, song, dance, drama and video presentations. Local musicians and veterans are also invited to participate. Usually 100 students will participate each year.
Each year, Murray chooses themes that honor the veterans and their bravery. There have been well over 50 themes highlighted since the inception of the Veterans Day program. Some of these themes have included: Navajo Code Talkers, The Ghost Army of WWII, Sullivan Brothers, The Angel Flight, Christmas Truce of 1914, “In Flanders Field,” Make Your Bed by Adm William McRaven.
In December of 2018, Oak Hill Academy was chosen by Wreaths Across America to be a convoy stop along their route from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery. WAA places wreaths on all of the veterans graves in Arlington National Cemetery. The convoy included 12 tractor trailers, a coach luxury bus with Blue Star and Gold Star families and veterans, 10 SUVs from WAA, Maine State Troopers, motorcycles and NJ State Troopers. Once the convoy arrived, they were met by the faculty, staff and students waving American flags. The WAA contingent was treated to a two hour program honoring the veterans. It was so well received, that Murray was invited to Arlington, VA to attend the WAA Gala two days later, where she received recognition from the founders of WAA, Morrill and Karen Worcester.
Murray said, “It was after the tragic events of 9/11, that we decided to honor of veterans and explain the importance of our freedom and safety to our students. We are so fortunate to have such talented students and staff members who contribute to the program each year.” Joseph A. Pacelli, Head of School, is an Army veteran who fully supports this yearly event.
Murray reflected on her own connection with veterans. “ My dad was a member of the greatest generation as an Army veteran who fought in WWII at the Battle of the Bulge and my mom was a member of the Red Cross who helped the war effort with troops coming into and out of New York harbor.” “I also have grandfathers, uncles and cousins who are veterans.”
“It was quite an honor to have received this prestigious award and I am humbled for this recognition,” said Murray. DAR member, Kathleen Breslin, spearheaded the campaign to provide letters of recommendation and documentation in support of Murray’s nomination of the Ellen Hardin Walworth Medal for Patriotism.