Southmont High School Alumni

Crawfordsville, Indiana (IN)

Alumni Stories

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William R. McMurray

William R. McMurray

Class of 1977

I did not graduate from Southmont High School. But my husband, William R. McMurray, is a 1977 graduate. Life was terribly rough for Bill after graduation. However, Bill was getting his life together when I met him in 1981. He proposed to me two weeks after we met. We married a year and two months later. This August will make 28 years married. What is worthy of recognition for Bill is what he has since done with his life during our marriage. As a medic for Callway Ambulance, (Fulton, MO), in 1986 he founded the Callaway Ambulance's volunteer program, The Callaway Medical First Responders. He trained volunteers to assist the one and only Ambulance in Callaway County, which covered 875 square miles of county. He raised funds to equip each volunteer with medical and communication gear. Starting with only eleven volunteers at his first meeting, within a year the group grew to 55 medically trained members. In 1987 the Callaway Ambulance recognized Bill as their Medic of the year. That wasn't the only recognition that year. The Missouri Senate, through Leutenant Gov. Harriet Woods' office, honored Bill as one of Missouri's top volunteers of the year. Later that same year, during a fundraiser for the Responders, State Representative Gracia Backer presented Bill a Presidential Commendation from then U.S. President Ronald Reagan. In 1989 Bill left the Ambulance after the Fulton Sun Newspaper in Fulton, MO offered him a spot as an entertainment columnist. By this time Bill had already written two of his four books titled, "Reaching For Your Star". The book series assisted charities and autograph collector's in procuring signed celebrity memorabilia from some of the biggest celebrities around the world. Using the pen name RW McMurray, "RW McMurray's Celebrity Contact & Trivia Challenge" appeared in the Fulton Sun Newspaper every Saturday. Three months later, the Mexico Ledger, Mexico, MO and the Columbia Tribune, Columbia, MO also picked up Bill's Saturday column. In 1990 Bill also started writing a monthly feature for the internationally circulated magazine, Autograph Collector, out of Corona, CA. During this time Bill went back to school and obtained an associated degree in Business and in 1994 took over Georgia Carpet Outlet/Busenbark Carpet in Columbia, MO. During the week he managed the store. Every other weekend he would travel to Branson, LA, NY or wherever was needed to interview celebrities for his column. Bill also continued his fund-raising for a variety of charities by procuring everything from signed World Series bats and balls to Vanna White's "Wheel of Fortune" dresses. These items would be auctioned at live auctions with all proceeds benefiting the charity Bill was assisting. However, by this time Bill was receiving request from charities from all over the Mid West. He's done three in the Crawfordsville area including the July 4th Festival which brought in Bill's friends Lani O'Grady (Mary on TV's "Eight is Enough") and Jon Provost (Timmy from "Lassie"). The Southmont choir used Bill's assistance one year to do their own celebrity auction. He assisted a fundraiser for an ill child in Fowler, IN and also brought in America's Teen Ms., Amy Osmond (daughter of Wayne Osmond of the Osmond Bros.) for Montgomery Counties Teen Ms. program. He's done fundraisers in Rockford, IL (Noah's Ark No-Kill Animal Shelter with friend Jon Provost), The St. Maries Catholic School Endowment Fund (with Family Affari co-star Sissy/Kathy Garver) and many other events. He's currently working on his 57th event for the YMCA "Strong Community Project" in St. Charles, MO. In 1992 U.S. President George Bush's "1000 Points of Light" recognized Bill's fundraising efforts. The number of awards and honors Bill has received are many and he's raised well over a million dollars over the years to make life better for those he has assisted. Bill has also assisted in many meet-and-greets for severly ill children who have wanted to meet a favorite celebrity. I would be more than happy to send newspaper stories and copies of Bill's honors to verify all of stated. I am not sure how to download tese items to the computer. If you would provide me an address to send this material, I would be prompt in getting it all in the mail. I should also add that in 1986 Bill created "Writing For A Reason". This program uses autograph collecting in the classroom as a means to motivate a stronger appreciation for written communication skills. This program has also been written about many times and featured in TV news, newspapers and magazines. He's presented his program in over a hundred classrooms. In August 2005 Bill was rushed into surgery for a clot in his right leg. After healing he attempted a return to work only to end up in the hospital and another surgery in January 2006. He made another attempt to return to work and in March faced his third emergency surgery for another clot and a femoral artery anuerism that was within days of bursting. He was soon diagnosed with a rare form of Lupus and dctor's advised he needed to retire immediately from his column and carpet business. He now receives diability but continues with his fundraising. This is something he does mostly from home by calling celebrity firends and writing request letters on behalf of the charity. Bill and I have four children (3 girls and 1 son). We also have four grandchildren with our 5th on the way. We purchased our 4th (and final) home last year and continue to live comfortably. Bill's early years was terrible. He and his sisters were removed from their mother in 1973 after years of severe abuse from both his stepfather and mother. He and his two younger sisters were separated into different foster homes. Bill was in two different foster homes before being moved to the Indiana Children's Christian Home in Ladoga, IN. Back then it was an orphanage and the children there attended area schools. Bill knew if he got moved to ICCH he and his sisters would eventually be back together. This happen a year after Bill came to ICCH. I understand that years after Bill left the home, it became something less acceptable with the community and housed youth with severe issues and criminal records. Bill never received any counciling from his earlier years of abuse. He had a nervous breakdown in 1977, several months after graduation. Despite the history, Bill overcame and accomplished so very much with his life. I, as well as our entire family, are very proud of all he has done and overcame. He has saved lives, sometimes at the risk of his own. He's been a driving force for charities throughout Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. He's inspired students and entertained readers and he's worked side by side with some of TV's biggest names. I should also add, for six years he also worked for Saturday Night Live alumni, Victoria Jackson. This while he was also doing so much more in and around our area. As already stated and requested, I can send verification of Bill's public accomplishments and awards. I do hope you'll write back soon. Sincerely, Freida McMurray, 3496 S. Hwy. W, Winfield, MO 63389, Email:

Recent Members

Angel Creek 1993
Brad Dagley 2007
Bradley Metz 2002
David Cravens 1979
Joseph Deck 1980
Joyce Franks 1980
Mark Keller 1987
Sharon Hawkins 1977

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