It’s not every day that Murdo, SD ends up in the national news, but perhaps that will be changing. Fox News is running a series on up-and-coming politicians, and featured John Thune, Murdo’s best known home-town boy, on November 11. They made sure to show Murdo’s one street light in their footage, with the implication that we are considered somewhat . . . quaint.
It was a fine segment on John, but people who see only that might miss some of the other things that make this area special. The Great Plains region has a rich and varied tradition of community. Several stories on the front page of this week’s Murdo Coyote, the local newspaper, illustrate that.
On October 30, 2010, the Jones County Ambulance and EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians) were honored as the 2010 Emergency Medical Service of the Year by the South Dakota EMT Association Banquet. Murdo has an official population of 679, and the county’s population was 1,193 in the 2000 census. The Jones County Ambulance service covers 971 square miles and a segment of I-90, which runs across the length of the county. The nearest hospital is 60 miles away. After a 2009 call for additional volunteers, the service added several ambulance drivers and 5 new EMT’s, doubling the total number of EMT’s in Jones County. And yes, those are all volunteers, out of a population of about 1,200 people.
In other news, local boy Zack Boyle finished in third place in the youth ages 10 through 11 division at the International Shotokan Karate Federation National and Collegiate Tournament, held last weekend in Sioux Falls, SD. Murdo may not be what people picture as a hotbed of karate activity, but it is home to a very active club.
And finally, plans are being made for the Murdo community Thanksgiving potluck. For years now, a few men cook turkeys and host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on the holiday, while other people bring salads and deserts as the spirit moves them.
Those are the kinds of things that make this area special and such a great place to live. As one elderly gentlemen asked with genuine puzzlement the other day, “Why would anyone want to live anywhere else?”