He was a rather unassuming man, making it easy for many to overlook him as a disruptive leader. Yet, his life would impact the world.
Do you have that same disruptive quality?
Let me share his story.
He was a humble man. He was a simple farmer in what many consider a flyover state. In many ways, the most exciting stories he had to offer were from his involvement in World War II. Yet in retelling these stories, he never claimed to be the hero. He was simply an enlisted man doing his part. He was briefly in the infantry, then shifted to supply before finally driving officers. Enlisting in February of 1941, he trained in Louisiana until the bombing of Perl Harbor.
Then he was deployed in the first wave of troops sailing past the Statue of Liberty on their way to Europe. He trained in Northern Ireland for a year before entering combat in North Africa. The second night he was there, the Allied front retreated hastily through the pass, leaving him and 30 others alone to burn the supplies and wait for the trucks to pick them up. The trucks never came. So they walked, safely navigating the pass just before the Germans bombed it. By the time they reached camp, to his horror, he heard that they had been reported missing. Fortunately he prevented the message from reaching his parents.
A year later, while driving a Lieutenant, they watched the bombing of the Montecassino Abbey. He didn’t make himself important, knowing he was the enlisted man serving the officers. Maybe that is why he rarely mentioned that he was the first allied soldier to set foot on Anzio Beach in Italy. He was one of the rare soldiers who returned with seven overseas stripes, one for every six months of service. He was proud of his service but wasn’t one to brag or embellish.
That was an important part to how he would disrupt his community and the world.
Many overlook his most disruptive quality. Too often they focus on the lofty accomplishments marked by accolades to determine the level of disruption. What they didn’t see is that he chose to marry a woman of great character and remain loyal until death, some 63 years later. Together they raised eight children who all developed that same strong character and became successful in their chosen vocations. He rose early to milk cows, feed the livestock, and, when necessary, shovel the snow before going to work in the fields. He worked long hours to provide for his family. He did this 7 days a week rain or shine. No excuses. That is why, like clockwork, every Sunday morning he and his wife piled the 8 kids, all born within 12 years, into the station wagon and drove 3 miles to church. Every week they were there, sometimes in the balcony but never in the front row. They were there to worship, not to be seen. Every year their children were among the few to be awarded perfect attendance in Sunday School. Both he and his wife were proud of that because he knew that would make a long term difference.
- No wonder many of their children and grandchildren would choose to become teachers and community leaders.
- No wonder many of them would travel the world as a part of the military or as teachers, Peace Corp or the ministry.
- No wonder his neighbors and relatives in that tiny farming community of Nunda, South Dakota considered their family a model to follow.
He disrupted by displaying strong character.
He disrupted by raising children who displayed that same strong character.
He did what was right, yet he didn’t brag about it.
“That is just what we do.”
He did the right thing by serving his family, community and country. It was not about him but about the children he raised. No wonder he was most proud of his loving wife, eight children and many generations of grandchildren. He was proud that they were responsible citizens, disrupting the world in the best way, by doing what was right.
Can there be any higher challenge?
Can there be any better way to disrupt?
Kermit Murfield was and will forever be my father. Yesterday morning he passed from this earth and is now resting forever in peace knowing that he was loved, had made a difference and was proud of the children and many grandchildren that exude his strong character.
- He disrupted the world by developing and maintaining a strong character, doing what was right every time.
- He knew that disrupting is radically improving the world. Destruction is not disruption. He fought the Nazis and knew that democracy creates while greed destroys.
- He set a standard by letting his actions speak louder than his words.
- He helped to disrupt the lives of others by caring for those less fortunate than him.
- He served his family, community and world because he knew giving out produces taking. .
- He literally disrupted the world by raising children that embraced his compassion, character and commitment. Many would travel to faraway places as teachers, soldiers, nurses and ministers.
My father’s legacy tells me that that we can make significant changes in this world when we become the person who cares and is committed to doing what is right.
I’m proud to be his son.
Rest in Peace Kermit Murfield, August 15, 1919 – December 7, 2015.
I’m conscious of the impressive legacy he has left and the challenge to live up to that standard.
3D PWR Tip: Disrupt by Doing What is Right
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Dr. Loren Murfield works with aspiring and emerging leaders to disrupt the market. One of the unique ways he does this is by recording their legacy by writing their biography. What difference could you make by telling your story? Contact Dr. Murfield today.
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