HR’s Andrew Murphy, 19, ships out to Middle East

‘It was what he wanted to do’

With five children to parent, Hood River father Joe Murphy has grown accustomed to worry — but he is now facing a new stress brought by his son’s deployment to the Middle East.

“The worry is not explainable, it’s under the surface and it’s never off your mind — you do a lot of praying and really have to exercise your faith,” said Murphy.

On Sunday, Army Pvt. Andrew F. Murphy, 19, arrived in Kuwait to join his fellow infantry soldiers in the battle with Iraq. His father said the 2002 graduate of Hood River Valley High School followed an almost lifelong dream to join the armed forces. In that decision he was strongly supported by both his Hood River relatives and his mother’s family in Independence. In addition to his father, Andrew’s cheerleaders include mother Zoe Fidler, step-mother Lee Murphy, brother Patrick Murphy, 18, step-brothers Tanner Galvin, 21, Duncan Galvin, 16, and Willy Galvin, 18, and sisters Kaylen, 7, and Sherriden, 5.

“From the time he was about five years old, it was what he wanted to do, he always thought that everyone should be willing to give their time,” Joe said.

Although he is proud of his son’s willingness to serve his country, Joe admits that he would have been happy if Andrew had remained stationed in Hawaii and “rode out the war on a surfboard.”

That hope proved futile when the Murphy family was notified about two weeks ago that Andrew, who has airborne training, would be shipping out to the Middle East.

Although he is unsure about what his son’s new duties will be, Murphy said it will now be harder to watch media coverage of the war.

“Right up until he went there we were all over the TV and now I just need some peace,” Murphy said.

He believes that life continually opens up new learning opportunities and Andrew will return home as a more mature and directed man because of his military background.

“As parents we want to protect them but good and bad experiences make for a full life and that’s what it’s all about,” Murphy said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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