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Hero Among Us: Assistant Chief Andy Murphy Retires

Andrew Murphy is a great guy, an awesome family man, a good neighbor, an engaged citizen, and one of the hardest-working fire chiefs you’ll ever meet. He’s been our Assistant Chief here in Groveland since 2018 and Friday morning, Andy will wake up to his first day of retirement.

Chief Murphy began his fire service career as a volunteer firefighter with Sheep Ranch Volunteer Fire Company in 1990. In 1991, he became a seasonal Firefighter I with CAL FIRE at the Copperopolis Fire Station. Chief Murphy became a licensed paramedic through Columbia College, completed his internship with Tuolumne County Ambulance and has worked as a Firefighter 1, Fire Apparatus Engineer, Fire Apparatus Engineer Paramedic, Fire Captain, Fire Crew Captain, Battalion Chief, and is retiring from his distinguished career as an Assistant Chief. Chief Murphy has worked in the Madera - Mariposa - Unit, the Tuolumne - Calaveras Unit, the Santa Clara Unit, and the Copperopolis Fire Protection District. Andy has vast experience working in both Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties which includes Fire Station, Emergency Command Center and Conservation Camp assignments.

Chief Murphy's most recent assignment was the Assistant Chief with oversight of the Tuolumne County Fire Department, Groveland Community Services District Fire Department, and the CAL FIRE TCU Training Bureau.

Chief Murphy made many contributions to Groveland Community Services District and the businesses and residents along Highway 120 in Tuolumne County. He understood the financial hardships that our Groveland fire district has been facing and made it a priority to pursue grant funding. Fueled by Andy’s dogged determination, Groveland Station 78 received over 1.3 million dollars in grant funds while he was our Assistant Chief. He proved to be a great catalyst in developing a positive relationship and understanding between Groveland Community Services District and Tuolumne County, assisting in persuading Tuolumne County to start paying for Amador staffing at the CAL FIRE Groveland station and easing the financial obligations for Groveland Community Services District.

Most recently, Chief Murphy assisted with obtaining Tuolumne County’s commitment to provide a second year-round, fully staffed fire engine to serve the greater Groveland area–a much-needed service that the citizens of Groveland, Big Oak Flat, and southern Tuolumne County have been requesting for years. In a June 14 commendation to the GCSD Board of Directors, General Manager Pete Kampa said, “His impact has been felt throughout the entire county and beyond; he is a true superhero in our eyes! The District wishes to express our gratitude for Chief Murphy’s leadership and service to the Groveland Community Services District and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

Other recent accomplishments impacting Groveland and County Fire include establishing an employee assistance program for mental wellness for all volunteer firefighters, applying for and receiving several million dollars in grants for items such as volunteer recruitment and retainment, self contained breathing apparatus, mobile radios, LUCAS chest compression devices, multiple sets of Jaws of Life extrication tools, temporary defensible space inspectors, and more.

Chief Murphy’s experience, expertise, and accomplishments are far too many to list and that wouldn’t even include the hundreds of hours he spent on the line, fighting fires and saving lives.

In the recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, Dore Bietz, Office of Emergency Services Coordinator and Nick Casci, Tuolumne County Fire Chief/ Cal Fire TCU Chief/GCSD Fire Chief said, “From all of us, not just within the CAO’s office that have had the honor of working with Andy directly, we are truly grateful for the service and collaboration that Andy has provided to our work and to all of Tuolumne County. Always a phone call away and eager to help, Andy has been instrumental in supporting and dedicating his time to ensure that our community is prepared and safe. Thank you, Andy, for all that you have done, you will be greatly missed, and we express our deepest gratitude for your leadership and service to all of Tuolumne County.”

It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t let Andy have the second-to-the-last word about all this, so we’re borrowing a quote from his personal Facebook post on June 21, following his commendation from the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with the County and GCSD. I’ve never worked with such a large group of people who do so much with so little.

Assistant Chief Andy Murphy and Amy Newton-Murphy. Thank you for your years of service to our community!

“Thinking about my career, I’m very proud of my time. I have regrets, I have very proud moments, and I have had life altering experiences. I‘ve seen the worst and the best of humanity, done CPR hundreds of times and more than that when CPR wouldn’t help, I’ve traveled up and down the state, been in places very few humans have been, seen the utter destruction of whole communities by wildfire, and seen hundreds of firefighters risk their lives, really risk their lives, to save others. I’ve worked with some amazing people and many heroes. True heroes. And true friends.”

Enjoy that first cup of the rest of your life this morning, Andy. Let it be sweetened with our gratitude for your dedication to our safety, your service to our community, and your friendship.


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