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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Scout's Honor: Nashua’s Mahfuz honored for community service

By Darrell Halen

Correspondent

Standing at a podium on Tuesday, Larry Gammon, president of the Easter Seals organization in New Hampshire, praised local businessman Sy Mahfuz for the difference he’s made in the lives of Nashua-area soldiers and their families.

Gammon shared with a luncheon audience, of about 70 people at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, that Mahfuz, along with another citizen, Tom Tessier, have helped raise $1.5 million for Veterans Count, an Easter Seals program that supports veterans, service members and their families, over the past four years. ...

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Standing at a podium on Tuesday, Larry Gammon, president of the Easter Seals organization in New Hampshire, praised local businessman Sy Mahfuz for the difference he’s made in the lives of Nashua-area soldiers and their families.

Gammon shared with a luncheon audience, of about 70 people at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, that Mahfuz, along with another citizen, Tom Tessier, have helped raise $1.5 million for Veterans Count, an Easter Seals program that supports veterans, service members and their families, over the past four years.

Gammon’s remarks were made just before Mahfuz received the 2016 Nashua Good Scout Award. He was honored by the Daniel Webster Council of the Boys Scouts of America for his service to his community and local businesses along with exemplifying the values of Scouting in his daily life.

“We’re all here, and we have to make a difference in people’s lives one way or another,” Mahfuz told the audience. “It’s a legacy that I think we should be thinking about.”

Legacy is an important word to him, Mahfuz continued. Although his father, Fred, didn’t use the word, Mahfuz said,

leaving a legacy of helping others was important to him.

Mahfuz, who followed his father into the family rug selling business, considered him to be a role model while growing up.

“He was someone I really looked up to and he taught me every single day,” Mahfuz said.

Mahfuz and Tessier are two of the charter members of the Veterans Count Nashua chapter. The organization is a program soldiers and their families turn to for emergency financial assistance, mental health support, substance abuse services and employment counseling.

“I’m not afraid to ask (for donations) because I’m not asking for me,” said Mahfuz, adding that the legacy for each audience member sitting in the room is to make the world a better place for their children and grandchildren.

Growing up, Mahfuz helped his family business, PRG Rugs, by cleaning and vacuuming rugs, helping with deliveries and installing carpets. He also served as a U.S. Army reservist and active drill instructor in the 1970s.

He admired his father’s generosity and commitment to their community – “give back at least as much as you get” – and has been active with many local organizations, including the Nashua YMCA, the Nashua Rotary Club, the American Heart Association, and the Nashua Symphony Orchestra.

Mahfuz has also received many awards, including being honored as Citizen of the Year in 2011 by the Nashua Chamber of Commerce.

Before the lunch, Mahfuz was greeted with smiles, handshakes and hugs. Joining him were his wife, Janet; his 92-year-old mother, May; his daughter, Medina; and sister, Maleeka Lloyd.

Several of the luncheon speakers spoke about the important role that Scouting plays in boy’s lives.

Dr. Gary Dunetz, a local urologist, spoke about the positive influence that Scouting had on him while growing up on Long Island. He saw older boys positively mentoring younger boys and honed his skills during camps. Scouting, he said, gave him a “push forward” in life, and builds character, hard work and turns out young men who are highly motivated.

Drew Cline, a former Scout leader from Bedford, credited Scouting for transforming boys who are unconfident and feel like misfits into confident, self-sufficient people.

He credited the Daniel Webster Council, based in Manchester, for its leadership training and Scouting for Food collections.

“It’s putting those words they live by in practice every day,” Cline said.

Another speaker was 14-year-old Raymond Grocela, a Boy Scout from Weston, Mass., who saved a boy that collapsed during a soccer game. Raymond grabbed his EpiPen AutoInjector and told a coach how to use it.

When it was his turn at the podium, Mahfuz told the teen that he had “started your legacy.”

“You don’t get recognition sometimes by doing things and you shouldn’t expect recognition for doing things,” Mahfuz told him. “But if you live long enough and your heart’s in the right place, and you live by the values that you’re learning today in Scouting, the recognition will come.

“It may come in the form of what we’re doing here today, or it will come in the way your heart feels during your lifetime with the good things you’ve done for so many people,” he continued.

As guests arrived for lunch, they saw an old, enlarged black and white Nashua Telegraph photo on display that showed Mahfuz, then a young Nashua cub Scout, standing with his friend, Jay Leonard.

The boys were handing an “I will vote” card to a Nashua resident as part of a door-to-door Nashua League of Women Voters program.

Mahfuz joked that he knew Leonard, a local attorney, was going to be a lawyer because he was so good at persuading people to vote, while Mahfuz was interested in visiting homes so he could go inside homes and measure living rooms to sell the owners a new rug.


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