09/16/10 5:17 PM ET
Teacher gets spirits boosted by school, Phils
Fan who runs into house fire for tickets gets some Phillies love
By Deb Rinaldi / Special to MLB.com
And if there's any question, ask Marie Murphy -- a longtime Stratford, N.J., teacher and Phillies fan who raced into her burning house last April to save her season tickets.
Thankfully, Murphy -- and her season tickets -- escaped safely, although her house was totally destroyed. Since that time, she and her husband, along with her mother, have been living in tight quarters in a local motel until her house is rebuilt.
"My husband was so mad at me that I didn't save the fire insurance instead," said Murphy. "But all I could remember [at that stressful time] was, 'Where I put those tickets!'"
Thankfully, she was able to work things out with her insurance company. But, needless to say, times have been a little rough for Murphy. So students and fellow teachers at John Paul II Regional School wanted to do a little something to lift the spirits of one of their favorite educators.
They organized a surprise Phillies Pep Rally -- in Murphy's honor -- and sought the team's help. Then on Thursday afternoon, in front of an entire school of cheering elementary students wearing Phillies red, broadcaster Jim Jackson announced that Murphy was the school's MVP -- and she was about to be treated to a very special assembly.
Overcome with emotion, Murphy took the stage, where students presented her with a jersey from her favorite player, Jayson Werth. Then the Phillie Phanatic got word and barged into the auditorium -- leading the veteran teacher around the room for high-fives and hugs.
It was more than evident that Murphy's passion for the Fightin' Phils went for teaching as well -- and the school loved her for it.
"I just want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart," said Murphy.
Phillies director of season ticket sales Derek Schuster also heard about the event and wanted to thank Murphy personally for her Phillies allegiance. He presented her with a few gifts, which included a framed World Series season ticket.
"Mrs. Murphy is a dedicated and loyal season-ticket holder and went above and beyond the call of duty to show her dedication to the Phillies," said Schuster. "The enthusiasm from the students was tremendous, and you could tell how much they love the Phillies and Mrs. Murphy."
Murphy was more than thankful for everyone's support, but in the future, will think twice before running into a house fire again to save her tickets.
Especially, after learning, that the Phillies can always reprint them.
Deb Rinaldi is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.