BOYS TOWN, Nebraska, July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Alumni kicked off the world-famous Girls and Boys Town's 90th Anniversary celebration today by presenting a commissioned portrait of their iconic founder, Father Edward J. Flanagan to today's children and the world-famous home for at-risk youth. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070728/LASA001 ) Accepting the 24-inch by 20-inch graphite on paper portrait of Father Flanagan on behalf of the 47,000 children helped annually by the organization was youth Mayor Jordan Ridder of Neligh, Neb., Vice Mayor Robert LaBron, of Atlanta, Ga., and Father Steven Boes, National Executive Director and fourth successor to Father Flanagan. To see the image and get additional information, please go to http://www.girlsandboystown.org. Girls and Boys Town will celebrate its 90th birthday December 12. The Original Father Flanagan's Boys' Home was founded December 12, 1917 in Omaha, and moved to its present location in 1921. Boys Town became an incorporated village in Nebraska in 1936. The organization, now known as Girls and Boys Town, has programs at 19 sites in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Its alumni represent every state in the union and several foreign countries. The portrait was presented by a group of 20 alumni, including Sarah Cambridge, the first female mayor (1991-92) and national director of the National Alumni Association, and artist Paul Otero, a 1968 graduate of Boys Town High School. "Father Flanagan's vision for America's children and families is as vital today as it was nearly 90 years ago," Father Boes said. "Even today, his famous words, and philosophy of caring for children are remembered and referred to across the nation and around the world. Otero's work took nearly six months to complete and is based on a never-before-seen photograph taken circa 1942 at Kaiden Studio in New York, N.Y. "Every line laid down is in honor of Father Flanagan's humanity," said Otero, whose works have been sold across the United States, including Andrew F. Millikan in New York. "His kindness is carried deep in his soul." Otero, who was born two years after Father Flanagan's death, said he has the immigrant priest's spirit and vision in his heart. However, to capture him in detail, he interviewed several Boys Town High School alumni of Father Flanagan's era, to bring him to life. Father Flanagan was Executive Director until 1948 when he died while on a mission to post-World War II Europe for President Harry S Truman. He suffered a massive heart attack in Berlin, Germany, where he died at the age of 61. Girls and Boys Town is the nation's largest privately funded organization serving severely at-risk children. Girls and Boys Town, founded in 1917 by Father Edward Flanagan, provides direct care to more than 47,000 children and assists nearly 1.4 million each year through its youth and health care programs. The nonprofit, nonsectarian organization provides abused, abandoned and neglected children with a safe, caring, loving environment where they gain confidence to get better and learn skills to become productive citizens. In 2006, a record number of children -- 47,170 -- received help, healing and hope from Girls and Boys Town's youth care and health care programs at 19 sites in 15 states and in the District of Columbia. Nearly 450,000 children and families were directly assisted through the Girls and Boys Town National Hotline, including more than 34,000 calls from youth where hotline staff intervened to save the caller's life or provide therapeutic counseling. Nearly one million more children were assisted through outreach and professional training programs last year.
SOURCE Girls and Boys Town