Local veteran and POW honored with special quilt

By Erika Mahoney

December 30, 2013 Updated Dec 30, 2013 at 6:17 PM EST

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A local veteran and prisoner of war rounds out 2013 on a high note.

Master Sergeant Matthew James Murphy thought he was going to a Christian study class at United Methodist Homes Monday morning.

"I said what's all the cars doing here?" Murphy said. "I said something is wrong, maybe it was canceled."

To his surprise, Murphy walked into a room of friends, family and applause.

A national organization called Quilts of Valor presented the 88-year-old with a red, white and blue quilt to show appreciation for his service.

Murphy, born in Syracuse and raised in Binghamton, served in World War II and the Korean War. He started out in the Navy and then joined the Army.

When asked why Murphy enlisted, he replied, "Love of God and country," with tears in his eyes. "And I'll tell you what, I've had a good life except for Korea. I can't complain."

During the Korean War, he was captured by the Chinese and held for 33 months.

While the honor triggered both good and bad memories for Murphy, he is thankful so many people cared.

To date, Quilts of Valor has presented 95,100 quilts to Veterans across America.