Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of one of this community’s great, enduring heroes, Blair Murray — former head coach of the bantam football team for Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, mentor and friend to all.
Murray, taken in the prime of life, was one of those truly remarkable souls whose brilliant light and gentle spirit touched people in penetrating and unforgettable ways.
Everyone felt a better version of themselves in his presence. He had a powerful sort of ennobling influence and impact on people, which was nowhere more manifest than upon the youth he loved and coached for nearly 30 years.
It is, therefore, profoundly fitting that a local foundation has been established in his name, to generate an annual scholarship award honouring individuals at Thurber who exemplify the attributes of character, integrity, hard work, and humility that defined Murray’s life and left behind his lasting legacy of greatness.
The Friends of Blair Murray Foundation will host its first annual fundraiser event — an inaugural scholarship dinner — this Saturday at 7 p.m. at one of Murray’s favourite local eateries, Montana’s Cookhouse, featuring Murray’s favourite menu items: chicken, ribs and tasty desserts.
The dinner will include a brief program paying tribute to Murray and his venerable local impact, followed by a wide-ranging selection of fabulous silent auction items, and numerous door prizes throughout the evening.
Current members of Thurber’s senior and bantam football teams are soliciting sponsorship donations, and will be most grateful for whatever contributions, large or small, can be collected towards this noble cause.
Anyone wishing to attend the $100 dollar-a-plate dinner may obtain tickets by emailing members of the organizing committee, noted on the Friends of Blair Murray Foundation website, and on Facebook.
Those unable to attend the dinner, but wishing to contribute to the scholarship legacy, may forward donations to any RBC banking location across the country: Account number 08259-003-516-160-9, or by PayPal on the Donate page of the website.
The entire Thurber family collectively — so deeply impacted by the loss of this beloved educator, coach, and friend — is genuinely indebted to members of this organizing committee for their commitment of time, effort, and resources honouring Murray in this meaningful and lasting fashion.
Not only is this a touching tribute to a remarkable man, but the annual scholarship award created by the foundation will celebrate and bless student athletes at Thurber in an enduring legacy of Murray’s credo for decades to come.
Perhaps the highest and greatest honour to which an individual can aspire in this life is to love — and be so loved — as to inspire in others the motivation to build a better world, to ease another’s burden, to create a lasting legacy of greatness and change that transcends even death.
Coach Murray exemplified this kind of love and service all his life. May he be fittingly remembered this weekend by those in our community who loved him back.
Gone, but never forgotten.
Vesna Higham is a local lawyer, former Red Deer city councillor and a freelance columnist.