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Health center dedicated to 'Murph'

January 30, 2001

Health center dedicated to 'Murph'



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Murphy Community Health CenterHorace W. Murphy - "Murph" to friends - was honored Monday when the health center on Walnut Street in Hagerstown was named after him.

"People are usually dead when that happens," said Murphy, who retired in September after 20 years as president and chief executive officer of Washington County Health System, Inc.

"Mr. Murphy has dedicated his entire career to the mission of a healthy community and the promotion of collaborative programs to achieve this goal," said Don Harsh, the Health System's chairman of the board, during a ceremony outside the front door.

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The converted warehouse, now called the H.W. Murphy Community Health Center at Walnut Street, opened in December 1999. The Health System owns it.

It houses a family practice, a dental clinic and social services counseling. It also has programs for prescription drugs, child abuse prevention and early childhood development.

Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening's proposed budget for fiscal year 2002 includes $470,000 to remodel the third floor for alcohol and drug abuse treatment and mental health counseling services.

Harsh called the center a statewide model for health care.

"This is both gratifying and humbling," Murphy said, but he refused to take sole credit.

"There is no successful leader until all believers are ready to link arms in mind and spirit and move a project ahead," he said.

Harsh named state, county and city elected officials who supported the center, several of whom playfully saluted Murphy.

State Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, joked that he arranged for a Maryland State Police helicopter to fly overhead during the ceremony to honor Murphy's contributions to trauma care.

"We wish you and your family the best in retirement," Shank said.

Washington County Commissioner Paul Swartz said Murphy "set the stage" for good health care in Maryland.

"You talk about community-based health care - this is it, in a nutshell," Del. John Donoghue, D-Washington, said.

Donoghue said that each time he drops off his children at the private school across the street, the health center will remind him of Murphy's accomplishments.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II joked that he wasn't sure who "Horace W. Murphy" was on the invitation, until he realized it was "Murph" - "one of the most respected names in the county."

"I think it's wonderful ...," Murphy's wife, Evelyn, said of the building honor. "He does deserve it."

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