updated 6/6/2007 9:55:54 PM ET 2007-06-07T01:55:54

A governor's promise to a 12-year-old Boy Scout who was lost in the northern Maine wilderness for more than a week was fulfilled on Tuesday — nearly seven decades later.

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Donn Fendler got lost on July 17, 1939, while hiking with family on Mount Katahdin. The search for the boy drew national media attention.

After Fendler safely walked out of the woods by following a stream and telephone line to a sporting camp, then-Gov. Lewis Barrows invited him to Augusta and promised him a lifetime fishing license.

But the license never materialized — until Tuesday afternoon.

Fendler mentioned the promise to Maine Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan when the two met last summer. McGowan told Gov. John Baldacci, who decided to make good on the promise.

Baldacci welcomed the gray-haired Fendler and presented him with the lifetime fishing license. McGowan paid interest on the old debt with a decorative canoe paddle autographed by Baldacci.

Fendler, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, was taken slightly aback by the attention, saying he was "just a dumb kid who got lost in the woods."

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