Local veteran and owner of the Veteran's Place, Quentin Murray, discusses his service in the military and his work with veterans today.
Before his active duty, Murray was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, spending his formative years in a town called Liberty Hill.
He spent three to four years of his life in Liberty Hill before moving with his family to Long Beach, California.
It was here that Murray enlisted in the Army, in January of 1987, before being transferred to Fort Knox, Kentucky. At Fort Knox, he received seven months of 19 Delta training, as well as OSUT training, before getting his first duty assignment in Fort Bliss, Texas.
Murray has served in several tours of duty, ranging from the Operation Just Cause, Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Murray has been stationed across the world during his years of service, including countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Germany, Spain and Morocco.
Murray retired from the Army on January 12, 2012, a Master Sergeant, taking many of the things he learned from military back home with him.
The most important lesson? Sacrifice.
“There were many days where I was away from my family. There was my kids’ childhood, things that I wasn’t able to be apart of with my children,” Murray said. “You miss their first steps, their first words. Graduations, you just miss out on those things, and then as a husband you miss out on that intimacy with your loved one, to really sit down with them and see what’s going on in their head.
“But, you learn that by taking that sacrifice, you’re making the world a better place. It takes a special person to always be gone from their family, to take care of others. It takes a special connection between husband and wife that you can trust each other while you’re separated for so long to take care of everything.”
In addition to sacrifice, Murray grew to understand the need for connection among the veteran community, with his wife, Jacqueline, coming forward to give him the idea for the Veterans’ Place.
“She came to me one day and said ‘we need to do something for the veterans,’” Murray said. “‘Veterans need somewhere to go, where they can sit down and be heard.’”
The Veterans’ Place opened on November 8, 2017, and in Murray’s own words, it’s been a “special” place ever since.
Murray describes the Veterans’ Place as one with an “overwhelming sense of homeliness,” where veterans can stop in reflect with each other on their time in the military and their active duty.
“See, what we do here is not just sell caps, patches or T-shirts, we give lasting memories to our elder soldiers who have spent time in Korea, Vietnam, World War II, wherever,” Murray said. “They can come here and they can talk to people who understand the oath they took. We all took that oath here, to defend the United States, whether it be foreign or domestic threats. They can come tell those stories here, and no one is going to look at them cross-eyed, because we’ve all been there with them. We’ve all taken that sacrifice.”
Murray holds veterans and the older generation of soldiers to the highest of standards, something he believes should be reflected everywhere.
The Veterans’ Place and Murray’s family all work tirelessly not just to give veterans a place to reminisce, but also a place to call home where they can find that same sense of purpose that drove them to act in the military.
“Veterans are special people, they really deserve our utmost respect, and trust me when I say there is a lot of them here. We do right by them here, we give them a place to come and talk. I don’t really have any free time, because this is my time, and I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend it than by doing right by my fellow veterans.”
The Veterans’ Place is located on 1506 South 5th Street in Leesville; if you are ever wanting to show your respect to the soldiers that have put everything on the line for this country, be sure to stop by and thank them in person and thank Quentin Murray and all of his family for taking it upon themselves to make a place for them.