Joseph Murtagh, Jr.’s community service began in 1974 when he chaired a Wa1kathon for the Middletown Jaycees that raised $40,000 and provided money for the Association for the Help of Retarded Children (A.H.R.C). Today that program has 25 sites and annually serves 2,000 retarded children with a budget of $20,000,000. After serving as President in 1975, he prepared for and won the New York State Jaycee’s Speak Up Competition Award, and has been a public speaker delivering both informative and motivational community development talks to hundreds of people in a spectrum of organizations, clubs, and youth groups throughout the State.
In the early 90’s his Rotary Club was asked by Rotary International to raise money for a project to eliminate polio from the world. Under Murtagh’s Chairmanship the clubs Polio Plus Project raised over $100,000 and his Goshen Rotary Club was recognized as one of the most outstanding clubs in the world for its support of Polio Plus. In 1995, County Executive Joseph Rampe was initiating 911 for Orange County and encountering resistance. He initiated a County-wide Rotary involvement project supporting 911 and for the first time in the history of Orange County a collaborative effort of all clubs within the County helped to bring about a successful conclusion.
After 20 years of efforts to bring various Chambers within the County together, Murtagh invited past-presidents of the Chamber to a brainstorming forum to identify methods and strategies, as well as obstacles and challenges preventing these chambers from merging. One and half years later the Chambers of Commerce did merge and the county now has one organization representing the business interest of all.
The county where he lives has four hospitals; each with far more beds than required supporting the population. Murtagh drafted a cooperation proposal to save money and enhance service for everyone and sent it to Board Member of each organization. One year later the four hospitals announced a collaborative agreement and are working together benefiting everyone in the community.
Believing in both youth enrichment and youth at risk programs, Murtagh has been a Big Brother. In 1998 and 1999 he chaired a seven County Rotary Districts RYLA Conference (Rotary Youth Leaderships A wards) where he and his committee were responsible for four nights and five days of leadership training for 110 High School Sophomores. Through the Education Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, Murtagh initiated and chaired a drop out prevention program for the 18 School Districts in the County. In 1997, he created a newsletter of positive thinking, problem solving, and thought provoking ideas that he faxes monthly (THINK ABOUT IT) to 255 community leaders, encouraging dialogue and motivating change for the better.
In 1999, Murtagh released his first book, Retirement Investing that has helped hundreds of families achieve higher levels of financial success. In 2000, his second book, America 2000 Enslaved & Dependent, won the endorsement of Congressman Benjamin Gilman.