Vandalism shatters memorial for LI Medal of Honor recipient

Posted: Updated:
Lt. Michael Murphy -- a Medal of Honor recipient from Patchogue who died in combat in Afghanistan in 2005. Lt. Michael Murphy -- a Medal of Honor recipient from Patchogue who died in combat in Afghanistan in 2005.
LAKE RONKONKOMA -

An act of vandalism has destroyed a plaque in a Lake Ronkonkoma park honoring Lt. Michael Murphy -- a Medal of Honor recipient from Patchogue who died in combat in Afghanistan in 2005.

The dedication plaque at Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Park was shattered into pieces. At one point in his life, Murphy had also served as a lifeguard on Lake Ronkonkoma, according to residents.

"I was heartbroken," says Legislator Tom Muratore. "Why would somebody want to do something like that?"

Residents say the crime sparked outrage in their community.

"I really could not believe that somebody would do something that disrespectful to a fallen hero," says Evelyn Vollgraff of Holbrook.

After parkgoers discovered the damage, dozens of people gathered alongside the lake, including a group of local veterans.

George Stondell, the commander of AMVETS Department of New York, says Murphy was "a local hero" who had received a Purple Heart in addition to his Medal of Honor.

"There's no words to express the outrage that veterans feel about desecrating a veteran's monument," he says.

Police are asking anyone with information on the vandalism to contact them.

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