GREENVILLE — It has been an interesting four months for Chief Michael Murphy, the new Naval Science instructor for the Greenville High School’s Junior Naval ROTC program.
Murphy, who came to Greenville from St. Louis, to work with Commander Winford Knowles, started at Greenville March 16.
“That was the same day the schools were closed (for the corona virus),” Murphy said. “It was definitely weird. I came in that day looking forward to meeting all the cadets.”
Murphy has 11 years active duty in the Marine Corps and has served in the U.S. Naval Reserves for another 15 years.
So, what was it that brought him to Greenville?
“Everyone always asks me that,” Murphy said with a smile. “I looked forward to the opportunity to work with Commander Knowles.”
Murphy had an opportunity to work at a school in St. Louis which is all cadets — a school just for ROTC.
“It is one of four or five schools in the nation like that,” Murphy said. “I just felt like I could make a bigger impact working with 80 cadets as opposed to working with 800.
“I am very happy that Chief Murphy is here, as you get to know him, you will understand why I say that,” Knowles said at a Greenville board meeting earlier this month. “He is going to be a great asset to Greenville, the community and the school system.
Murphy is looking forward to getting started.
“I am very happy to be here,” he said. “It was an honor to be hired on by Mr. Fries, Mr. Hughes and commander Knowles. I am looking forward to working with students and cadets, as well and doing things in community. My desire and focus is going to be the progress of the cadets as well as the students.”
Murphy is committed to making a difference in the community.
Back in St. Louis, Murphy and his wife run a non-profit geared toward young women coming out of foster care.
“It is for ages 17-24, once they have become emancipated,” Murphy said. “We help them find jobs and get money for college, things like that. Working and serving the youth has always been a passion of mine.”
It was something he learned as a young man.
“I had my parents at home,” he said. “But, I also benefitted from a number of men and women who were like surrogate parents for me. I feel like I am just paying it forward. I feel like when you have a number of people who care about you, it really benefits you.”
Murphy has been busy during his time at Greenville.
“When I started, I worked with the students remotely,” he said. “I would email them their homework and things like that. I have met a few of them.”
It has also given him time to learn the job.
“Commander Knowles has really helped me tremendously,” Murphy said. “He has taught me about what I am doing and given me a lot of guidance. We make a great team.”
And he can’t wait for the beginning of the school year and have his students in a classroom.
“I am excited,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with the cadets and making an impact on them and the community.”
Which he will continue to do, regardless of how many curveballs COVID-19 throws at him.