NASHVILLE-Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder recently posthumously awarded Sergeant First Class Dennis Ray “Bucky” Murray the first Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal and the late soldier’s mother, Wanda Maxey, was on hand here to accept the medal on behalf of the Murray family, according to a news release found online at www.tn.gov.
“We are grateful and humbled by SFC Murray’s heroism and sacrifice,” the release quoted Haslam saying at the presentation. “On behalf of Tennesseans, we want to express appreciation to his family for his service and to let them know he won’t be forgotten.”
The 38-year-old Murray, a 1991 graduate of Hermitage Springs High School, was killed when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device (IED) November 21, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. He is survived by his mother, Wanda Maxey, wife, Shelee Murray, and his two children, Sebastian and Savannah.
“Four months ago today, we lost a soldier and fellow Tennessean to the war in Afghanistan,” Grinder said. “It is important that we never forget our fallen heroes who have given the ultimate sacrifice and the families they leave behind.”
Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) and Sen. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) sponsored HB- 1019/SB-0541 to honor and recognize service members killed in the line of duty. The new law became effective July, 2011.
“We want surviving families to know that Tennesseans are grateful for the ultimate sacrifice of the service members who represent our state and country,” Ragan said. “This medal is a token of our sympathy, gratitude and continued respect for the commitment of our fallen Tennessee heroes.”
Future Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medals will be presented to surviving families at the time of visitation or memorials of service members killed in action.