POSTED: Monday, September 23, 2013 - 9:07pm
UPDATED: Monday, September 23, 2013 - 9:08pm
EL PASO (U.S. ARMY) — For the first time in at least five years, Fort Bliss’ Sergeant Audie Murphy Club hosted a dining-in at the El Paso Holiday Inn, Aug. 29. The event, rich in tradition and esprit de corps, provided an opportunity to honor veterans, past and present, while also paying special tribute to Murphy, the U.S. Army’s most highly decorated Soldier from World War II.
The event gave potential SAMC members a chance to see what the club is about and an opportunity to observe members interact with one another, said Sgt. 1st Class Charity Franco, the Paseo Del Norte SAMC president.
A video presentation was shown of Murphy’s biography and the club’s objective of volunteer service, giving non-club members a better understanding of the club’s significance.
The SAMC is dedicated to a strong tradition of volunteering and community service. The extra meals purchased for the event were donated to a local battered women’s shelter.
The president of the mess and guest speaker for the evening was Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Kelly, the command sergeant major of 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, who has been a SAMC member since he was a staff sergeant.
“We really wanted to showcase the club to Fort Bliss and the attendees,” said Kelly. “The club has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. It gives you a chance to give back to the Army and (the local) community and to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”
One of the featured aspects of the evening was the notorious “grog bowl,” consisting of various additives commemorating significant events of Murphy’s life.
Such events included his birth in Hunt County, Texas, June 20, 1925, represented by a certain birthday cake elixir. A canteen of water was added – “supposedly” having not been opened since Murphy was cured of malaria. A bottle of olive oil denoted his unit’s invasion of Italy.
Finally, four roses were added to commemorate his death May 28, 1971, on a mountaintop near Roanoke, Va.
Other festivities of the evening included drawings for door prizes, toasts from various attendees and a meal consisting of a choice between chicken and rice or beef and mashed potatoes.
After the closing of the mess, attendees were invited to partake in an after-party, which included music and dancing.
“With only about seven weeks to plan and prepare, club members volunteered their time, resulting in a full dining-in experience,” said Franco.