My Memorial Day was a time of reflection and thanks. Reflection on the fact that too often in this life we witness greatness unknowingly. Thanks for everyone who has defended the freedoms we so often take for granted.
I have been twice blessed by two real-life heroes whose greatness was lost right in our midst.
Dick Bartolomea answered our nation’s call in what many consider the “worst of times,” in Vietnam as a Marine commander, and returned to marry and raise a family — and run the entire Penn State sports camps program better than any professional I’ve ever known.
I ran the basketball camp many times and the challenges were significant. He ran an operation which included every sport and served literally tens of thousands of alums, alums’ kids, and every coach at Penn State. Meals, lodging, facilities, equipment, brochures, safety ... and disagreements. Not always liked but never not respected.
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Michael P. Murphy was a student of mine in 1997. Awesome kid. He left like so many, to find his way. All he did was pass up law school, serve our country as a Navy Seal, and earn a Congressional Medal of Honor for giving his life for his men on June 28, 2005. Both men walked among us in our town and on our campus. Dick will be laid to rest Friday, June 2.
Neither man liked fanfare.
When Murph’s dad contacted me to say thanks for the support, I realized I was still in the presence of greatness.
Thanks, Mr. Murphy. I never said thanks to Dick or Murph but in these pessimistic days I still believe heroes walk among us. Murph and Dick were two of mine. They are sorely missed and we are better because they walked among us.
Mike Morse, State College