Murphys Honored With M.A.D.D. Legacy Award

By Benjamin Cox on September 16, 2022 at 6:08am

The Illinois chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving held its 13th annual Law Enforcement Recognition Dinner in Springfield this past Saturday.

The MADD Hero Awards are presented to officers, prosecutors, and community partners across the state for excellence in their field. This event is made possible, in part, through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Two South Jacksonville residents were honored at the dinner for their over 30 years of work for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

George & Marilyn Murphy’s advocacy to eliminate drunk driving stretches back to 1985 when they helped to found the Morgan County Chapter of MADD after their daughter Kellie was struck and killed by a drunk driver.

George Murphy says that the Legacy Award from the state chapter really took he and his wife by surprise: “We’ve had this Legacy Award for many years. I don’t even know for how long it has been on our program, so they surprised us with it. I’ve always said that when we got involved [with M.A.D.D.], it was to honor and help victims and recognize other people like law enforcement. So it is a surprise when they recognize volunteers for their work.”

Murphy says he’s currently alarmed by the jump in current traffic deaths within the last quarter of this year. He says that the country is facing a crisis when it comes to increases in driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Murphy says one of the biggest pieces of the Morgan County MADD chapter is hosting victim impact conferences face-to-face with those who have been convicted of driving under the influence: “We had started our victim impact panels in June 1989 and had run them continuously quarterly each year until the pandemic hit us in 2020. We are trying to resume. It takes volunteers to tell their story to the offenders. We just get a burn out after awhile from our victims who help us on the panel. Hopefully we can get them started. If not, [the offenders] can register and do an online victim impact panel so it’s not like it is a total loss. I just always have felt that the personal, face-to-face panel is better than any sign up on the Internet and taking a course.”

Murphy says he and his wife get calls from across the country on how people can get involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, how to start a chapter, or just seeking help with their situation. He says he will continue to help people and advocate for the stop of drunk driving.