Progress and recovery came quickly.
This time last year, Meghan Murray faced an uncertain future. The Trafalgar teen was involved in a horrific car accident while driving to the Indiana State Fair in 2021 with two other teenagers. Even months into his recovery, Murray still had difficulty performing simple tasks such as walking and talking.
But she refused to give up, vowing to graduate high school, go to college, and achieve the lofty goals she had set for herself.
With dogged perseverance and the support of what seemed to be the entire Indian Creek community, she kept her word.
“It meant everything to me. I had to get out of the woods to deal with it. For me, in my mind, that’s what I was supposed to do. But going back and thinking about handling everything and having everyone’s support means a lot ,”she says.
Murray has completed her first semester at Oklahoma State University with a perfect 4.0 GPA and a place on the school’s president’s honor roll. The animal science major has been active in various clubs across Oklahoma, participating in the Block and Bridle Club, which unites students interested in livestock husbandry, and the University of Oklahoma Cattlewomen Association.
Even though she was more than 700 miles away in Stillwater, Oklahoma, she still felt the constant support from her hometown in Indiana.
“It’s amazing to see the community pouring in (support) after a year and a half,” she said. “Seeing that they still care about me makes me feel so loved. I love this community here.”
For the past four months, Murray has been adjusting to college life and participating in the freshman rituals that accompany starting the next chapter of his life.
She made new friends on campus, including her roommate Krista Brown, a Shelby County native. Together, they explored their new home in Stillwater, a college town of about 48,000 people, including about 26,000 students.
On weekends, they go to the local Tumbleweed dance hall to hear live music. They took part in well-loved Oklahoma traditions like watching the annual homecoming parade — dubbed “America’s Greatest Homecoming” — and seeing all the barbed wire the school’s Greek community made and paper towels.
“I love it here. I’ve fallen in love with it,” Murray said.
Murray still struggles to comprehend the fact that she can do any of them.
On Aug. 3, 2021, Murray was riding Kya Lasley and Keilyn Stauffer to the Indiana State Fair to herd cattle when their pickup truck was side-hit by another truck on Interstate 65. The collision forced their truck over a bridge and into the street below.
The accident kept Murray in the hospital for 98 days. She spent most of her senior year at Indian Creek High School, undergoing 13 major surgeries while relearning to walk, feed herself and write. She had to overcome memory and vision problems.
Still, with the help of physical therapy, she was able to graduate from Indian Creek and rejoin her 4-H group. At this year’s county fair, she was able to showcase her animals and even won Reserve Champion Middleweight Market Cattle, Champion Crossbred and Reserve Super Champion Beef Cattle.
Her injuries still haunt her at times. Due to surgical reconstruction of the joint, she sometimes has back pain and cannot fully extend her elbow.
But she feels like she’s 99.5% back.
“I still have some limitations, but none of them are life-changing,” she says. “I attribute a lot of that to how much I had to walk around campus. When I went to Oklahoma, I was nowhere near where I am now.”
Her fitness wasn’t the only change during her time at Oklahoma. When Murray leaves for school in August, she aims to pursue a degree in agricultural business, farm and ranch management, and animal science.
However, after entering her coursework, she adjusted the program to better suit her interests. She is now majoring in Animal Science and majoring in Business.
“A lot of other students who do animal science degrees already know the science behind it all. But I only started doing cattle and animal science two years ago, so I didn’t really have the main basics behind everything,” “So I The animal science major in will really provide the scientific knowledge I need.”
As he looks ahead to his second semester, Murray looks forward to the opportunity to attend the Cattlemen’s Congress and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association trade show in New Orleans, Louisiana in February. She hopes the experience will not only showcase the myriad careers and innovations in the cattle industry, but also open doors to potential internship opportunities.
“A lot of the big companies in the beef industry come out and give talks about different things, so I’m interested in getting to know them and talking to them about internships,” she said.
Murray will also take part in a study abroad program in June, traveling to Fiji to help residents of the island nation with various agriculture-related projects.
Each experience will serve as the foundation for her career in performance animals and animal nutrition.
“It’s been really great to get out there and have new experiences that I wouldn’t have (in Johnson County),” Murray said.