Jack Murphy, fire marshal (ret.) and former deputy chief of the Leonia (N.J.) Fire Department, received the Tom Brennan Lifetime Achievement at the FDIC General Session today in Indianapolis.
A third-generation firefighter and a licensed educator, Murphy combined his two professions to produce a career rich in instruction, carrying the message of life safety and fire protection to both private sector and fire service audiences. “Jack understands that firefighting and teaching go hand in hand—two noble professions that are indistinguishable sometimes,” said Bobby Halton, editor-in-chief of Fire Engineering magazine.
Many fire service leaders chimed in with their support for Murphy winning the award. “He knows no limits when it comes to fire protection,” said Jim Ellison of the FDNY. “Jack represents the highest form of professionalism in the fire service.”
FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano noted that that “Jack has spent his life in service to the firefighting community. He’s a tremendous advocate for fire departments.” And Glen Corbett said Murphy has been an “unwavering sentinel of fire safety, consistently advocating for building construction codes. Firefighters across America can be thankful to Jack for dealing with these prickly issues head on.”
Accepting the award, Murphy noted that it is a special honor to be awarded with the Tom Brennan award because it was Tom Brennan who first encouraged him to write for the fire service. After thanking several people who’ve had an influence on him, Murphy told the story of Lt. Jack H. Jacobs, who was caught in a firefight in Vietnam and had most of the bones in his face broken by shrapnel. At that moment, Jacobs thought, “If I am not for myself, what am I? And if not now, then when?” Jacobs then returned to the battlefield and rescued 13 of his men.
“When will you make a difference?” Murphy concluded.
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