Fort Stewart’s Murray Elementary School was dedicated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 14.
All of the stops were pulled out for the family of the late Col. Charles P. Murray Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient.
Students served as masters of ceremony, wrote and read a poem, presented gifts to the Murray family and led tours through the school.
Brian Murray, son of Col. Murray, said his dad would have been proud.
“My father has always been interested in service,” Murray said. “…To name an education center after my father … would just thrill him to death, because he loved to inspire young minds.”
Col. Murray, a World War II veteran, also earned a Silver Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with first Oak Leaf Cluster and French Croix de Guerre with Silver Gilt Star for Valor in 1944-45.
The younger Murray said his family is steeped in Army service. He, his brother, son and nephew served in the Army, and described Col. Murray as a stern-yet-great leader.
“Later on in life as I got older I learned to appreciate him much more,” Murray said. “He was always dedicated to his troops. Later, we appreciated the fact that we were as important to dad as his soldiers were. And the soldiers were so important to Father.”
The school’s principal, Talisha Thompson, said serving at the school is great. She came from a school that closed in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
“Once you go from closing a school down to opening a new one is a tremendous opportunity,” she said. “It’s been real exciting working with all the schools in the district, with the military and with the construction company.”
She said student pride in the school is apparent.
“I do see that they take care of the school,” she said. “We do not have a lot of trash out and about because they see it’s a brand new building and they have pride in the way that it looks and they want to keep it that way.”
Murray said he wanted the students to remember his father, who died in his sleep six-weeks before his 90th birthday.
“Anything he ever did was not about him, because he never considered himself a hero,” Murray said. “He recognized the fact that some people called him a hero but, for him, he was just a soldier and he was a leader and he had commitment to his country and to the country’s people.”
The $20.5 million school, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has more than 450 solar panels that are expected to provide more than 150 megawatts of electricity, a wind turbine, motion-sensor lighting and other ecological features.
The school, which officials are calling “green,” serves more than 400 students, parents, faculty and staff who attend the silver-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designed school.
According to usgbc.org, a LEED is a rating system environment-friendly buildings.