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Newly promoted Maj. Gen. John “Mike” Murray was in Kenton this weekend to view improvements at the park named in his honor.
The Hardin Northern Garden Club has taken on the project of overseeing Murray Park, formerly known as Cherry Street Park. It was dedicated in Murray’s honor on July 4, 2009. Overseeing the project are club members Rosemary Fitzgerald, Sally Carlson and Mary Margaret Richards.
Murray, the son of John and Janet Murray, grew up in Kenton and the park was a favorite place for him and other Kenton youngsters to play basketball.
The park now features a one-ton sandstone rock donated to the garden club by Briar Hill Stone Company of Glenmont. Steve Phillips transported the rock to his garage where he sandblasted the following words requested by the club: “To honor all who have served to protect our freedom.”
Kenton Marble and Granite Inc. owners donated their time and skill to make a template of the wording for Phillips to use. The finished stone was moved to the park by Phillips and Ken Carlson.
Col. Tom McBrayer, head of the JROTC program at Kenton High School, brought several students to the park for cleanup work. They painted trash cans, edged the sidewalks and dug up grass.
As part of the project, the flag pole was relocated to behind the monument, just east of the basketball court. Dave Rish moved the pot to the new flower bed site, which was made by Ken and Sally Carlson. Several members of the HN Garden Club donated the six doublered Knockout roses.
Rick Burgbacher made a picnic table for the area.
The Kenton Park and Recreation Board is having electric installed at the park to illuminate the American flag.
Murray’s promotion from Brigadier General (one star) to Major General (two-star) was official on May 1. He has been stationed with the Joint Staff at Suffolk, Va., and will be starting a new job at the Pentagon.
In his new post, Murray will be working on force structure operations for the Army.
Based on budget cutbacks, the Army is being reduced from 572,000 to 490,000 in a four-year plan. Murray will make recommendations for the reductions to his superior officers.
He said the Army will be smaller but the goal is “preserving the capabilities we have today.”
Murray served three tours of duty during the war in Iraq. He has been in Afghanistan, but not for a tour of duty.
Murray remembers after graduating from Kenton High School that he was offered a four-year scholarship as a JROTC officer to attend Ohio State that led to his military career.
“Thirty years later, here I am,” he said. “There’s not a thing I can think of that I’d rather be doing.”