The family of Rep. John P. Murtha, who died Feb. 8 of complications related to gall bladder surgery, is starting a foundation to endow a Center for Public Service in the late congressman's name at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

The center will serve as an archive of Murtha's papers and a space for "public debate, discussion and academic inquiry into key local, regional and national issues" according to a news release. Proposed as a 25,000-plus square foot space, it would include a library, museum, classrooms and offices. The foundation, in addition to funding the center, would also give to non-profits in Western Pennsylvania.

“Jack dedicated his life to serving his country and community, and The John P. Murtha Foundation will continue this legacy by promoting public service and charitable interests throughout western Pennsylvania,” Joyce Murtha, the congressman's widow who declined a chance to run for his seat, said in the news release.  “We’re thrilled to be working with the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on creation of the Murtha Center, and working to establish a permanent endowment that will support non-profit organizations throughout our community.”

A kick-off fund-raising dinner will be held May 26 at Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va., with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders scheduled to attend. A Johnstown fund-raiser is also in the works.

Contributions can be mailed to: The John P. Murtha Foundation, Attn: Sam Catanese, 307 State Street, Johnstown, PA 15905


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