LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – On Monday, it was a veterans license plate on a parked car that prompted me to ask the driver if he is a veteran. He said yes, I asked him if he would share his story with me, and he did.
“Jobs just weren’t there when I graduated from high school,” said Ronnie Murray (photo above). Murray explained that after his 1964 graduation from La Follette High School, many employers did not want to hire someone who could possibly be drafted. So in Oct. 1964, Murray enlisted in the Army.
Fifty- five years later, Murray easily rattles off his stops; Ft. Jackson, Ft. Sam Houston, Ft. Benning, Valley Forge, Ft. Knox, Johnson Air Base and Vietnam. Counting Johnson Air Base at Japan and Vietnam, Murray had been away from the states for 20 months.
He was an operating room technician and saw a lot of traumatic injuries during the war. “I saw a lot of guys who were wounded from gun shot wounds and shrapnel,” said Murray.
Once back home, he soon headed to Michigan for a short stint with General Motors, and he then returned to the Area Vocational School at Jacksboro. Murray said he could not get a job out of school and ended up in construction as a carpenter building houses. From there, he enjoyed a successful 28 year career building swimming pools.
The reason Murray was at Wilson Gas yesterday morning is he was there to gather from the collection box for the Shriners. He’s been a Mason for years and is part of the Campbell County Shriners. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 11/05/2019-6AM)