Jake Murphy was recruited to play Lacrosse for Army at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Jake grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts with his parents Lee and Dan and his younger siblings Conor and Nora. He attended Wellesley High School where he played football, hockey and lacrosse, captaining the football and lacrosse teams.
At West Point, Jake received a general engineering degree with a major in Spanish. Following graduation in May of 2009, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the infantry branch of the Army, sending him to Fort Benning, GA where he completed the Infantry Officers Basic Course, Airborne School, and Ranger School. Following his stint in Georgia, Jake was assigned to the Tenth Mountain Division in Fort Drum, NY where he met his wife Lisa Morgan. While at Fort Drum, Jake was assigned charge of a platoon of 40 soldiers, with whom he was deployed to Afghanistan. Four months into the deployment Jake was injured in a blast from an Improvised Explosive Device.
Jake lost both of his legs and was in a coma for a month. He had to learn how to use prosthetics and to cope with a traumatic brain injury. He and Lisa are living in Silver Spring, MD as he awaits his medical retirement from the Army.
When Holidays for Heroes first heard about Jake Murphy, he seemed the right match for an R&R Nantucket Experience vacation that would include the challenge of crewing on a FIGAWI Memorial Day weekend sailboat race, from Cape Cod to Nantucket. This heartfelt letter from Lisa spells out just how meaningful a Nantucket Holidays for Heroes Experience can be.
A letter of thanks from the Murphy's
We came off of our wedding weekend feeling so blessed and thankful. It was a day that two years ago, wasn’t guaranteed or even likely to happen.
We have been through many struggles since Jake stepped on that IED in Afghanistan, including raging infections, a month-long coma, two leg amputations and learning to walk again. Daily life is full of appointments, meetings, and paperwork all working toward our end goal – medically retiring from the military and moving on with our “new normal.” It has been such a long road for our friends and family, which made our wedding even more emotional for all who attended. It was a beautiful day of joy, celebration, and gratitude.
With the hectic schedule back at Walter Reed and the energy that the wedding planning took, we weren’t even counting on taking a honeymoon right away. It was something we knew we wanted to do, but thought it would just be one more thing to plan on our already full plate. That’s where Tom stepped in. Tom McCann reached out to Jake in regards to a weekend at the end of May in Nantucket. A party and boat race that Jake and I really knew nothing about. He excitedly and passionately told us all about the Holiday for Heroes program and the plans they had for hosting wounded service members and their families for weekends of fun and relaxation. Jake and I thought, “Where do we sign up?!” It was settled that we would be attending the FIGAWI race in Hyannis and Nantucket and we were so excited and thankful to be included.
Towards the end of our conversation, Tom asked us about our wedding plans, and what we had in the works for a honeymoon. When we told him that we weren’t taking a honeymoon, he wasn’t having any of it. He immediately offered up his home and vowed to make sure we had an amazing and memorable week together after our wedding. He assured us all we had to do was show up on the island and enjoy ourselves.
We had the warmest welcome party right off of the ferry from Eric Goddard, Police Sgt. Steve Tornovish, Bert Johnson, Paul Kosciuk, and Jim Richard. We knew from there that we would be taken care of. We were presented with gifts, donations, and lists of vendors and restaurants that wanted to host us throughout our stay. It was more than we ever could have fit in during our five days on Nantucket, and it warmed our hearts to see how many people came together to make this happen for us. It was obvious how much Jake’s service to his country means to the people of Nantucket, and how special they wanted us to feel on our honeymoon.
We wanted for nothing on this vacation. We were just excited to be able to “unplug” for a week and not worry about answering emails or going to the hospital. Little did we know that we would have beautiful flowers, wine and a wedding cake waiting for us at Just Washed Inn. This was especially exciting since we were too busy at our own wedding to have any cake! We found welcome baskets with all things Nantucket, movie and museum passes, offers for sailing trips, tours, gift cards – really any activity under the sun. With dinner reservations at the tastiest restaurants on the island, we didn’t have to think about a thing. I think the hardest decision we made all week was what we wanted for dessert.
Each establishment treated us with first-class service. We were welcomed by owners and managers, taken to beautiful tables, and given some of the best food we’ve had in a long time. We took a beautiful sailing trip on the Endeavor with Captain Jim, an exciting island tour with Gail, an savored and sipped an afternoon away at Cisco Brewery, and even made it out to the Great Point Lighthouse to see the seals in a place that felt like the end of the earth. We strolled the cobblestone streets popping in and out of shops and galleries without a care in the world.
Our time on Nantucket is something we will never forget. The Holiday for Heroes program and the Nantucket Police Department stepped up, and pulled the community together to give us the most relaxing week that we can remember since Jake’s injury. We couldn’t be more grateful to Tom for encouraging us to take the time for ourselves and unwind from the wedding. Our time on Nantucket sent us back to Walter Reed recharged and ready to finish up our mission here, and we owe it to the people of Nantucket!
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