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Friday, February 12, 2010

Abe Lincoln Visits Gresham: Really!

We have a guest post today from Don Weston, President, Gresham Optimist Club in honor of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.  Happy Birthday, Mr. President. 

Residents of Courtyard Fountains might have thought they had taken a step back in time recently when Abraham Lincoln, or at least the spitting image of him, surfaced in full presidential regalia to recite the Gettysburg Address recently.

Honest Abe was portrayed by Ed Murphy, a Governor Elect for the Pacific Northwest District Optimist Clubs. Murphy was in Gresham for a local zone meeting of Optimist clubs and brought along his Lincoln attire to entertain and educate the retirees.

“One of our residents spent the entire last week researching Lincoln just for this event,” said Mary Beisley, administer for Courtyard Fountains. They’ve been looking forward to it all week.”

“I decided to give it a try a few years ago in Seattle and discovered I have kind of a knack for it,” Murphy said. “I kind of look like Lincoln even without the beard.”

And he does, sporting the same long angular face as Lincoln. Murphy lets the beard grow in when he thinks he will have an opportunity to portray the former president. He often tries to book lectures when traveling. “I wanted to do a couple for Gresham elementary students while I was here, but they were on half days, and they don’t do assemblies on half days,” he explained.

Murphy, a member of the Issaquah, WA. Optimist Club, says he will try again if he returns to Gresham in his upcoming capacity of Pacific Northwest District Optimist Governor in October. He serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

As Abraham Lincoln, Murphy talks as if he was Lincoln alive in the 21st century and marvels at what today’s life offers. He talked about his four minute Gettysburg speech and how it upstaged a more prominent speaker. Talking directly to Courtyard residents, he answered questions and read passages from various books about himself.

Afterwards he posed for pictures with staff and residents.

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