Boy Scout Troop 336 Scoutmaster Steve Maroney can often be found in the office of his Lynbrook home in the early morning, poring over paperwork and planning the next troop meeting or camping adventure for the boys.
“In the beginning, I would wake up and find him in the office at 2 a.m., and I’d be like, ‘Oh my goodness, you’re gonna be so tired,’” said his wife, Melissa. “Now I’m so used to it. If I wake up and he’s not there, I’m like ‘Oh, it’s just Scouts stuff.”
Maroney, 48, who owns STM Complete Contracting Inc. and builds houses in Nassau and Queens counties, dedicates more than 100 hours a month to his troop. His mother, Eileen Maroney, said he showed signs of becoming a builder and a leader as a young boy.
“He would get nails in his stocking for Christmas,” she recalled. “Ever since he was in kindergarten, he was hammering and sawing. He used to build tree houses.”
For his dedication to organizations as important as the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and for his many other volunteer efforts, the Herald is proud to name Maroney its 2017 Person of the Year.
He grew up in Rockville Centre, and is the youngest of Eileen and Edward Maroney’s six children, born after his twin brothers, Daniel and Christopher, two other brothers, Mark and Michael, and his sister, Suzanne. He attended St. Agnes Cathedral School and got his first job as a carpenter soon after graduating from Southside High School in 1987.
As his brothers did, Maroney joined the Cub Scouts when he was 7, and he eventually moved up to Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout. Eileen noted that since the Maroneys didn’t have much money when Steve was a child, they often went camping on vacation, because it was the only vacation they could afford. He grew to love nature and working with his hands, she added, recounting that, as a child, he once broke her napkin holder, and went into the basement to build her a new one. She still has it.
Maroney met Melissa, who grew up in Valley Stream, at the mall when they were teenagers. She said they hit it off instantly. “He was just always a nice person — even then,” she said. “He was always caring and always very patient.”
They married in 1989. When they were in their early 20s, they bought a two-family home in Lynbrook, and Steve eventually razed it and rebuilt it himself as a one-family house. The couple have raised three sons: Jack, 19, Brandon, 16, and Luke, 14.
Like his father, Brandon is an Eagle Scout. Steve became a den leader and the cubmaster of Pack 85 after his sons joined the scouts. When the boys advanced to Troop 336 — the only Boy Scout troop in Lynbrook — Steve eventually became the scoutmaster. He has been involved in scouting in Lynbrook for nine years, spending the last three in his current role.
During a Court of Honor ceremony at Saint James United Methodist Church on Dec. 18, Maroney said that even though he runs a business and is raising a family, he finds plenty of time for his troop. “It’s good for the kids, and it’s important,” he said, his blue eyes beaming with pride as he spoke. “How do I find the time? I don’t know. You have to prioritize.”
He spoke of an upcoming trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in August, when he will lead scouts on a weeklong journey, traveling 50 miles with their food, water and tents on their backs. He said he once trekked 90 miles at the camp as a teenager, and that the hikes teach scouts how to survive on their own while providing them with an escape from cellphones and video games. As scoutmaster, Steve also runs food drives and has his troop members adopt a military veteran to donate items to.
Jason Huffine, who has been in the troop for five years and is a Life Scout — one rank below Eagle — said he enjoys the trips. He described Maroney as a dedicated leader who is always there to lend a helping hand.
“He likes to make sure every kid is having fun,” said Huffine, who also takes part in Maroney’s merit badge class, in which he assists scouts in setting and completing goals. “He’s a great role model and a fixture in the community.”
Maroney’s willingness to get involved goes beyond scouting. He dedicated many years to coaching baseball and basketball at Our Lady of Peace, and Melissa said that for many weeks after Hurricane Sandy, he drove his truck into Long Beach almost every day to pick up residents’ dirty laundry. She said he would bring it home, and then had friends, family members and neighbors pitch in to wash, dry and fold the clothes before he returned them. “The people were so happy,” Melissa said. “It was very appreciated by them.”
Mike Maroney said that his brother’s leadership was evident at an early age. When Steve was in Boy Scouts, he became a senior patrol leader, which meant he was in charge of organizing about 50 scouts. “To be the senior patrol leader at a young age is a sign that you know how to lead,” Mike said. “He was always working with wood or building something or making something, so you just knew he was gonna do something with it.”
Mike called Steve the most generous person he knows, and added that he has a fun-loving side, too. He said Steve enjoys singing karaoke, and even though he isn’t the greatest singer, he puts his heart into it — as is the case with everything else he does.
“You get him in front of one of the karaoke machines, it’s hilarious, man,” Mike said with a laugh. “You go home and your stomach hurts from laughing.” Melissa said her husband is also known for trying — and struggling — to cook, but added that he makes up for it by being a good cleaner.
Though he has been involved in scouting since he was 7, Steve said he never envisioned becoming a scoutmaster.
He added that nearly a decade later, he has no regrets about stepping up to volunteer his time. “I love spending time with the kids — I’ve seen them all grow,” he said, pointing to a group of teenage scouts at the church, whom he has led since they were children. “I’ve seen these kids grow. It’s great to see them grow and advance and learn.”