Boys Town Alumni Kick Off 90th Anniversary With Presentation of Iconic Father Flanagan Image

Jul 28, 2007, 01:00 ET from Girls and Boys Town

    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
     (Photo: )
     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
     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,
     "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