Sikhs worldwide and a panel of four judges have selected Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy as the "Chic Sikh of the Year."
This annual honor, announced every New Year's Day by SikhChic.com, an online daily art and culture magazine, is the result of a two-month long poll.
Murphy, 51, received an overwhelming number of nominations from Sikhs worldwide. A Brooklyn, NY native, former U.S. Marine and a 21-year veteran with the Oak Creek Police Department, Murphy was the first responder to arrive at the scene after a white supremacist gunman opened fire inside the Oak Creek gurdwara, killing six Sikh-Americans there for the prayer service.
Murphy confronted Wade Michael Page, who riddled him with 15 bullets before killing himself. Murphy survived and is recovering from the ordeal.
"Sikhs everywhere, thankful for Lt. Murphy's courage, bravery and sacrifice, continue to pray for his full recovery, and wish him and his family God's blessings,” said Sangat Singh from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who submitted a nomination. Another nomination note by Amaninder Singh Gill (Patiala, Punjab) said, "He acted in the true spirit of Sikh teachings; he put his life on the line so that the civilians - no matter who they were - in his precinct would be safe."
Balpreet Kaur, J K Rowling, Lord Indarjit Singh and Malala Yousafzai were also nominated for the 2012 Chic Sikh of the Year. "Although the choice proved difficult, the judges agreed unanimously that Lt. Murphy's bravery and courage made him the Chic Sikh of the Year," said Dr. Ahluwalia, one of the judges.
The criteria for Chic Sikh of the Year stipulates that a candidate’s actions should constitute public service above and beyond the call of duty; selfless, consistent, ongoing and meticulous service; have a ground-breaking and far-reaching impact; commensurate with the highest Sikh ideals of working toward the welfare of all people; of benefit to people of all faiths and races; have made a mark on society in the Year 2012; of a nation-building nature; and deserving wide recognition, encouragement and support.
Any man, woman, child, group, institution or corporation based anywhere in the world, and professing any faith, belief or religion can be nominated for the award. Murphy was selected this year from a slate of 32 nominees. Past honorees have included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and British centenarian marathoner Fauja Singh.
Murphy will receive the award in the form of an aluminum sculpture of an eagle head crafted at the famous Hosleton Studios in Ontario, Canada. An award ceremony will be held in a few weeks in Oak Creek at Murphy's convenience.