Eugene A. Murphy, who was paralyzed by gunshot wounds in Vietnam, served as national commander of DAV (Disabled American Veterans) from 1987 to 1988. In 1998, Murphy was elected treasurer of the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation, and continues to serve as secretary/treasurer.
Murphy was injured just 30 days before he was scheduled to return to the United States. He was on patrol in the jungles of Vietnam in 1969 when his unit came under fire. For 14 hours after being hit, the young Army sergeant lay on the jungle floor awaiting evacuation. Despite months of hospitalization and incurable paralysis of his legs, Murphy went on to hold prominent leadership positions serving the needs of veterans and their families in his home state of South Dakota and at the national level.
Awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with “V” device, Murphy joined DAV in 1970. While serving in all elected positions at the local level, he became increasingly active in DAV’s Department of South Dakota, chairing several state-level committees and serving as department adjutant. In 1984, he was elected department commander and was selected as DAV’s Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year. He is also a past board member of DAV’s Charitable Service Trust.
His involvement in organizations of ill and injured people and boards dealing with disability issues is extensive at both the city and state levels. He has frequently dealt with the South Dakota legislature, lobbying on disability and veterans’ issues. Among his numerous honors is distinction as South Dakota’s Handicapped Citizen of the Year in 1979.
Murphy was appointed by South Dakota Governor George Mickleson in 1989 to serve on the South Dakota Veterans Commission for a five-year term and was reappointed by Governor William J. Janklow to serve another subsequent term in 1995.
Murphy is an avid skier and has been a star player on the Sioux Wheelers, a nationally known wheelchair basketball team.
Murphy and his wife, Eldine, reside in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.