It took a family tragedy and a world war to stop George Maher from becoming an Eagle Scout. It took a concerned co-worker, more than 60 years later, to set things right.
George Maher was in a rush to become an Eagle Scout.
The year was 1944 and Maher was a 16-year-old in New York who had signed up to join the Navy to fight in World War II. Still, Maher wanted to get that Eagle Scout badge before he shipped out.
He had completed all the necessary work, gotten all the necessary merit badges to qualify. All that was left was his board of review hearing.
The hearing was scheduled for March 10, 1944. It started, but it never ended. Maher's mother burst into the room to tell him his father was gravely ill and they had to get to the hospital immediately. He left without saying a word.
Later that day, Maher's father died. Within a few weeks, the teen was shipped off to war.
Maher, who now lives in Redwood City, Calif., went on to serve his country, get married, raise a family and even volunteer for the Boy Scouts. Those who know him say he always acted like an Eagle Scout. But Maher knew he wasn't.
It wasn't until he told his story to Mark Manchester of the Pacific Skyline Council last year that the wheels started in motion to recognize Maher for what he accomplished so long ago.
This past Sunday, Maher was finally awarded his long-overdue patch.