Most of you don’t know one of our volunteers, Robert “Bob” McMahon. When Bob retired from the phone company some 20+ years ago, he came to volunteer at the LittleStore for 2 days a week for 3 to 4 hours per day. Over the years we have grown to know Bob and his wife, Charlotte, and their children. Bob hardly misses a day, In fact, he only misses his days at the LittleStore when he is on vacation, usually 2 weeks every year.
Over the years Bob has agreed to do any tasks we needed to be done and he has always been willing to come on additional days for food bank pickup or snowplowing. We have come to rely on Bob to fix anything that needs fixing, move anything that needs moving, carry anything that needs carrying, and a whole myriad of tasks that pop up around here.
So, when we heard that Charlotte was throwing Bob an eightieth birthday party at Disney World, we could not let the occasion go by without doing something extraordinary for this extraordinary person. We got ourselves invited to the party at Disney World, and we then decided that we would present Bob with a parchment scroll (like the kind you see in the medieval movies) listing his many contributions to the LittleStore and Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope. We found a scroll online and ordered it for the party.
Next, we decided to see if Bob would qualify to have one day declared as Bob McMahon Day in the City of Worcester. So we called Worcester City Hall and found out that since Bob did his charity work in Worcester for these many years it was possible to have Mayor Joseph Petty declare a “Bob McMahon Day” in Worcester. The Mayor’s secretary, Mary Oroszko, was the person to make this happen. We scheduled the presentation for August 16th late in the day so that Mayor Petty would declare August 17, 2022 as Bob McMahon Day in the City of Worcester. The presentation would take place at City Hall by the Mayor and many guests from Bob’s family and friends could attend.
We kept the two gifts a surprise for Bob’s party, only checking out everything with
Charlotte first. We didn’t want to mess up the birthday party.
On July 25th, we boarded a train in Providence along with 17 birthday guests on the way to Orlando, Florida, to join an additional 16 guests at the party destination. The actual party took place Thursday evening after a rousing dinner party at the Hoop Dee Doo Music Review in Fort Wilderness. This is Bob’s favorite place in Disney and, needless to say, someone, tipped off the program manager about Bob’s birthday so Bob became part of the show!
We all went back to Bob’s condo where family and friends shared stories, memories, Bobisms, and personal encounters with Bob over his 80 years. When it was our turn to give Bob his gifts we took the scroll out and Walter read the proclamation. When he got to the line, “and on August 16th the Mayor of Worcester, Joseph Petty, will proclaim August 17, 2022 as Robert McMahon Day in the City of Worcester,” a huge cheer went up in the condo. People were clapping, jumping up and down, and cheering Bob. It was a night I will never forget!
On August 16, 2022, we went to City Hall for the presentation by Mayor Petty. We finally met Mary Oroszko and thanked her for all the work she did in making this event happen. While we were talking, she stopped and looked around at the 34 guests from Bob’s family, long-time friends, and present and former staff from the Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope who came to be part of this event. She turned to us and said, “I didn’t expect so many people to be here; I need to check this out with the mayor.” A few moments later she came out of the mayor’s office, hurried over to us and said, “We’re moving the ceremony into the City Council chamber so there will be room for everyone.” She then started move everyone into the council chamber.
At 4:00 p.m. the mayor arrived in the Chamber and the presentation began. When he finished reading the proclamation, everyone stood up and cheered for Bob. Then the mayor called Bob forward and proceeded to present him with a Key to the City. This was not expected and came as a big surprise to us! The mayor thanked Bob for the twenty-plus years of service to the citizens of Worcester, shook his hand and gave Bob a pat on the back. With that, the council chamber once again erupted into cheers and applause.