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Rain fails to dampen first Maher Day of Service

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By Nick Johansen

Despite some rainy weather, the first George Maher Day of Service was successful.

Threats of rain led to the event being delayed from its initially scheduled day of May 3 to May 10. While the move didn’t result in an entirely dry day for the student volunteers, Superintendent Tom Messinger said they were still able to complete a solid number of scheduled projects.

“We worked at the Wilson Perfoming Arts Center, the Grand Theatre, the Montgomery County YMCA, the Community Garden, and got some yards cleaned up for folks. We’re also going to take on a few more jobs in the coming weeks as weather permits to follow through on the jobs we said we were going to do from the start,” Messinger said.

Messinger estimated roughly 100 kids were able to participate in community service projects. Another event is planned for the fall.

“We’re going to organize a leaf raking day that will focus just on community member’s homes. We’re going to have the students and the community collect a list and rake as many yards in a day as we can,” Messinger advised.

Members of George Maher’s family not only participated in clean-up efforts, but were in attendance at a post-event assembly at the high school gym. Messinger said the family members he spoke to were very pleased with the event.

“At the community garden, they coordinated some projects and were assisted by several kids. They were very happy to work with the kids and said they had a great time. The kids came in with a great attitude and were really doing a great job helping them out,” said Messinger.

Pat Maher comments

George Maher’s wife, Pat, spoke with the students during the assembly. Pat Maher said George would have been pleased to see the first-ever day of service come to fruition.

“He would have loved to see all the kids working together, helping, improving, and making your community a shade better, as George liked to say. No matter where you go, you will always remember this,” Pat said.

She also spoke about an accident that involved a drunk driver when George was 11. It nearly took his life.

“He was hit by the driver when he was riding his new bicycle, and they did not think he would make it till morning. He was moved to Council Bluffs with many broken bones, and he developed pneumonia. They had to reset his broken bones multiple times, and he was in a body cast,” Pat said.

While he was recovering, Pat said George made a commitment that shaped him into the community leader he became.

“He told the Lord, ‘You let me live, and I will give my body and soul to the Red Oak community. George lived, and George did what he said he would,” Pat said.

Pat added that he was the Red Oak School District’s biggest fan and he never missed a football game in 42 years.

“I want to say what I think George would have said. He loved all of you kids immensely, and had such faith in all of you. I hope you will continue with what you’ve done today, and work together, see things done, and be proud of what you’ve done,” she concluded.