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.
Maureen Mahoney recently received an award at the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Awards ceremony, where the honorees are some of the most committed people in their field. Their work and advocacy have inspired meaningful changes that should never be forgotten. Each year the VRC has the privilege of honoring those unsung heroes who have dedicated their lives to advocating on behalf of crime victims. Among those present at the ceremony, were Congressman Ted Poe, Congressman Jim Costa and Congressman Seth Moulton.
Mahoney was presented with the “Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award.” This award honors the memory of Eva Murillo, a prominent crime victim advocate in the state of California. Murillo, who passed away in 2005, was best known for her twelve years of distinguished service to the Kings County Victim Witness Assistance Program, where she pioneered efforts to help women in abusive relationships.
The honoree is a crime victim or survivor, who has experienced a personal tragedy and triumphed over adversity. This award recognizes a person who has utilized his or her experiences as a crime victim or survivor to promote public education and awareness, public policy development, and/or greater awareness about crime victims’ rights and needs. Through his or her efforts, the recipient has given hope to other crime victims and survivors.
The award was granted a result of the work Mahoney has been doing with domestic violence, that is, funding programs with the non-profits in the greater Lowell area who are aggressively addressing domestic violence and child abuse. The awardee would be someone who has experienced violent crime and is taking positive action to address it in the community.
The event was on April 13, 2016. A live video recording can be found here.
Nearly 40 years later, Maureen Mahoney will be returning to Tewksbury to celebrate the lives of her parents and brother at the Tewksbury Country Club Oct. 21.
New Years Eve 1975 should have been a night of celebration for the Mahoney family. It instead became a night of horror.
After dropping her sister Jane off at a party in Billerica, Maureen Mahoney returned to find her parents, Dr. Hugh and Ruth Mahoney, and her brother John, 15, shot to death in their home after a failed burglary attempt. She was gone for no more than 30 to 40 minutes.
Maureen was 21, a student at Boston College, preparing for final exams. Jane was 16.
Nearly 40 years later, Maureen will be returning to Tewksbury to celebrate the lives of her parents and brother at the Tewksbury Country Club Oct. 21.
“It’s been almost 40 years and people have not forgotten them. It’s hard to put into words. That in itself is a tribute to my parents and John. I don’t think they will ever be forgotten,” said Maureen.