While studying business administration, Edward Kelaher's undergraduate activities were understandable curtailed by his work schedule. He attended classes Tuesday through Thursday and worked full time at a sheet metal factory the remaining days of the week so he could pay for his education.
In 1980, he earned a law degree, graduating from the New York Law School in Manhattan.
Moving his family to Surfside Beach, South Carolina, his first client was a terminally ill man who needed help drawing up a will to ensure care would be provided for his wife, who was physically unable to care for herself. Though emotional, the positive feelings the case inspired encouraged Edward Kelaher to direct a great part of his life toward volunteer service and pro bono legal work.
Since that time, he has reserved 20-30 hours every week for volunteer activities. In 1991, his community honored him as the Surfside Beach Citizen of the Year. The following year, he was selected as the South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. In 1993, he received the Sun News Volunteer of the Year Award. That same year, recognizing his extraordinary efforts on behalf of those in need, his colleagues honored him with the prestigious American Bar Association National Pro Bono Attorney Award.
He has served as chairman of the board of the Baskerville Ministries Episcopal Church outreach programs, director and vice president of the Horry County Chapter of Big Brothers of America, director of the Horry County Children's Shelter Home, and a member of the steering committee of the Symposium on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children.
He and his wife, Patricia, have also served as foster parents for more than 20 at-risk children.
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