After a year of advocating to put an end to domestic violence, culminating in a tribute event on the 40th anniversary of her parents’ and brother’s death, Maureen Mahoney accepted an unsung-hero award last week in Washington, D.C.
“The Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award recognizes a crime victim or survivor who has triumphed over adversity and used his or her experience to promote awareness of crime victims’ rights,” U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who nominated Mahoney, said in a statement. “Maureen and Jane Mahoney have exemplified these attributes throughout their lives. I am honored to have nominated such a deserving pair of individuals from the Sixth District.”
Eva Murillo was a crime-victim advocate from California.
Mahoney, whose family is from Tewksbury, accepted the award at the annual Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus on Wednesday. The VCR awards were founded by Reps. Ted Poe of Texas and Rep. Jim Costa of California. Along with 72 bipartisan members, the representatives act as a voice before Congress for victims of violence.
Moulton nominated Mahoney because of her effort to organize the Dr. Hugh, Ruth, and John Mahoney Tribute Night. The event remembered her parents and brother decades after they were murdered during a New Year’s Eve robbery in 1975, and raised money to fund programs for three nonprofit agencies and the Tewksbury Police Department to work toward ending domestic violence among youths.
On Dec. 31, 1975, three armed men entered the Mahoney home and fatally shot the doctor, his wife and their son. Mahoney, 21 at the time, and her two sisters came home that night and discovered the scene. She raced to the police station. Many residents of Tewksbury and Greater Lowell remember the crime, which shocked the community. Three men were charged with the murders six months later.
“I’m representing an entire community who has kept my parents’ and my brother’s legacy alive for over 40 years,” Mahoney said at the ceremony. “Within that community is a small but mighty committee who worked very hard last year to ensure that the Dr. Hugh, Ruth, and John Mahoney Tribute was a great success.”
Mahoney, who now lives in Florida, is going to continue the tribute night in her family’s memory, and this year the focus will be on child maltreatment within domestic violence, she said.
Mahoney said research has shown that childhood domestic violence has led many children to get involved with gangs and drugs.
“They’re into all kinds of trouble in life because they were beaten down physically, emotionally, spiritually,” she said.
Bringing nonviolence home is Mahoney’s goal.
This year’s tribute night is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Tewksbury Country Club.
Read more at the original Lowell Sun article here.