Mary Pat Elledge,
Mary Pat Elledge has served as president of the Murphy Veterans Tribute since its inception in January 2017. A native of Denison, Texas, she has been an award-winning licensed Texas realtor for 15 years, and previously taught business and English at Keller High School in Keller, Texas. Mary Pat’s husband, Dwayne Elledge, is a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, assigned to serve at Long Binh Post in 1969. They met while studying at the University of Texas in Denton.
After moving to Ohio, Kansas, North Carolina and Florida for Dwayne's career in Business Management and Accounting, Mary Pat and Dwayne settled in Murphy, Texas where Mary Pat studied for her real estate license in 2004. They have lived in Murphy, Texas for 17 years. Mary Pat is a board member of the Murphy Exchange Club, where she has been instrumental in holding food drives and coat drives for the community, supporting city events and volunteering at area schools. Dwayne is a former city councilmember.
As a result of Dwayne’s experience serving in Vietnam, both Dwayne and Mary Pat have a deep connection with all branches of the military and a shared desire to memorialize the sacrifices of the servicemen and women who served and continue to serve their country. As a result of involvement with the Murphy Historical Society, they became part of a small group who got together in 2017 to discuss the possibility of a permanent community tribute to Murphy’s veterans.
Mary Pat has since spent many hours working and volunteering to bring the Murphy Veterans Tribute (MVT) to life. She has high hopes that the hard work of the dedicated MVT volunteers will result in a beautiful, permanent, public tribute to veterans in Murphy.
Gwen Durrant serves the board of the Murphy Tribute Association as its Treasurer. She has worked in construction accounting for almost 20 years, handling all facets of job cost accounting on small to multi-million dollar projects. She is also the proud daughter of a Vietnam veteran.
Gwen and her family have called Murphy home for over 10 years. She has a passion for history and holds a Bachelor’s degree in museum studies, in addition to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in archaeology. She has served on various boards and committees within the Murphy Historical Society, the Texas Archaeological Society, the North Texas Archaeological Society, and the Dallas Archaeological Society.
As Fundraising Lead and one of the founding members of the Murphy Tribute Association, Tod’s main role is to reach out to various organizations, businesses and citizens to seek donations to the Tribute. Tod also represents the Tribute Association at community and social events such as the City of Murphy’s Sounds at Sundown and Maize Days festivals, and Chamber of Commerce gatherings.
Tod has extensive experience coordinating fundraising activities, and has assisted or chaired fundraising activities such as auctions for local Christian schools and churches around the country. He spent 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, handling crisis communications for major pollution events, drug enforcement, fisheries patrols, search-and-rescue operations, and as a first responder during the 9/11/2001 World Trade Towers Attack. Following his Coast Guard career, Tod managed the Central Florida offices of an Environmental Engineering firm, serving as the company’s primary representative for business development, community relations, and sales. He currently serves as Sustainability Program Manager for Interstate Batteries in Dallas.
Tod earned a BS in communications, with a concentration in journalism, from Castleton State College, VT. He often writes articles and other communications about the Tribute project for local publications, helping to publicize this worthwhile project throughout North Dallas and Collin County. He has been married to his wife Mindy for 35 years. Their son Jared also served in the U.S. Coast Guard for just over four years. Their daughter Brittani is married to Ryan Sullivan, a Major in the U.S. Air Force, currently assigned to the Pentagon. Tod and Mindi also have three grandchildren.
D. Brian Epstein
Vice President and Construction Liaison Team Lead
D. Brian Epstein is a founding member of the Murphy Veterans Tribute project, initially assuming the role of Site Selection Team Lead. The Site Selection Team performed assessments and project member surveys to aid in the search for an area within the Murphy City Complex with the greatest potential as the location for the Veterans Tribute. Brian later became the Construction Liaison, coordinating with Halff and Associates to produce an architectural and landscape rendering of the Tribute monument and its surroundings. Subsequently, as vice president of the project’s nonprofit, the Murphy Tribute Association, he has aided in preparing the 501(c)(3) nonprofit application.
Brian holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, in addition to an MBA. He is also a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas. He is the only member of the Murphy Tribute Association who is still an active member of the U.S. Military. With over 23 years of service, he currently holds the rank of Commander in the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, and has participated in numerous deployments to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has lived in Murphy since 2006 with his wife Janet and their son Benjamin, and has sat on various City of Murphy boards and commissions.
Debbie Brumit brings extensive experience as a board member of several nonprofit organizations to her role as Secretary to the Murphy Tribute Association. She was Historian for the PTA at Miller Elementary school; Secretary and Vice President of the Murphy Historical Society; and Treasurer for the Plano East Senior High School Football Booster Club. Debbie is an Alum of Plano High School and the University of North Texas. She worked for Plano Independent School District in the technology department for 12 years. Debbie grew up in the Murphy area as did her husband and three children.
Lou “Chip” Diamond
As Design Lead on the Murphy Veterans Tribute Project, Lou Diamond is tasked with research and information gathering about veterans’ recognition projects across the nation. This information is an indispensable aid in developing and refining design ideas to meet the criteria set forth by the board of the Murphy Tribute Association.
Lou steps up to provide support for the Tribute Project wherever needed. This includes meeting with prospective donors and preparing documents, as well as liaising and interviewing with the local press and community groups to spread the word about the Murphy Veterans Tribute Project. Having served as a U.S. Army Infantry soldier in the Vietnam War, he has great passion and dedication for the project. Lou is also a skilled craftsman who often manufactures and donates items that are sold to raise funds for the project.
Lou received a BSBA from the University Of Denver, Colorado, and has attended many symposiums and served on panels in his field of expertise, which is finance, real estate and business administration. He is now retired and living in Murphy, Texas, with Sue, his wife of 53 years.
Sue Diamond brings 50 years of high-level corporate administration experience in the oil and gas business to her role as administrative coordinator to the Murphy Tribute Association. She handles a wide range of tasks, including managing office and other supplies; researching and liaising with current and potential vendors; writing newsletters and flyers; managing, coordinating and setting up the association’s presence at community events; and legal administration.
Sue spent 34 years at Browning Oil Company, Inc. in Dallas, where she worked in various positions including corporate secretary; assistant to the President/CEO; and office manager. As the wife of a Vietnam veteran, she is keenly aware of the sacrifices made by those who serve in the military. Sue holds an Associate degree in business from Kent State University in Ohio.
Carol “Ann” Bennett
Ann is a founding member of the Murphy Tribute Association. She manages the association’s contact lists and handles correspondence as well as sending out the organization’s newsletters. She also supports the association by staffing the MTA’s tent at local events such as the City of Murphy’s Maize Days festival; Sounds of Summer concerts; Dazzler events; DAWGS photoshoots, etc. Ann was instrumental in organizing the MTA’s first annual benefit gala, including obtaining silent auction items and setting up the event hall on the day of the gala.
Ann worked for many years as a legal secretary at Hewlett-Packard and as an executive legal secretary at ARCO Pipe Line Company in Houston. She is a graduate of Wichita Business College in Wichita, Kansas.
She has lived in Murphy, Texas since 2000 and is married to Lawrence Bennett, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in Vietnam from 1963 to 1966. They have three daughters and six grandchildren.