Reflections of Home~

Every odd number year I have looked forward to the last week of July….this year is extra special.

In days I will be traveling to the place I have called home for 58 years though I left there over 50 years ago. I will be going home to Boys Town, NE. Though I graduated in 1968 since there are reunions back on campus only every odd year; thus will be joining brothers of the classes of 1968/1969 to commemorate our 50th high school graduation anniversary.

As the travel day approaches it has been a time of reflection for me. I have no idea how many more times I have to make this journey home thus memories have come flooding back.

I think of the mentors who took an angry scared kid of 11 and helped him take what he had experienced the first 11yrs of life behind him and to move forward. Memories comeback to time spent to name a few; Msgr. Wegner, Msgr. Schmidt, Moe Genevieve Condon….who saw something positive in my always wanting to argue took me to Clarence Weinerth…my debate/speech coach the last two years at BT. All have since passed and whom I never had the opportunity to say thank you. I think of Dr. Patrick McGinnis, who still is with us and whom I have been able to thank. Each of these men played a role in making me who I am today and the lessons given by them remain with me today.

I had no self confidence and pretty much hated the world for the 1st 11 yrs of my life. Without having gone to BT and had these intervene in my life I would have never realized that hey I could carry a tune, I would have never realized that I had an ability to write…since then I have written 2 books and write for a number of on line publications, through debate I realized I had an ability to speak/advocate for foster care reform before folks…since then I have spoken to groups around the country (small & large) and have spoken to 3 World Conferences in Boston, Atlanta & The Hague Netherlands and I was able to found a small foundation foster youth called Hope & Dignity Project. Boys Town most importantly made me realize I was not the failure so many folks told me I would be before BT. If Boys Town had had not been a part of my history I strongly believe none of the above would have been accomplished!

The memories that I value most is the brotherhood of friendships made during 7 plus year at Boys Town who remain friends until this very day…many who I will be seeing on this journey home. Unfortunately the 3 closest friends made during those years will not be with me in person for this commemoration but will surely be with me in strongly spirit: James Acklin, Renato Korus and John Gallagher…these were not only fellow class of 68 members but were friends and even more I considered as brothers I never had…I miss each of them.

I want all I come in contact with to know the story of Boys Town and what it did not only for this one time kid but for the thousands of not only brothers but sisters as well the past 40 plus years. Boys Town has changed since my days but its mission continues to help young men/women be the best they can be!

Years at Boys Town had its ups and down as has life afterwards but I was taught it doesn’t matter if one falls but it does matter it you get up not and how they get up.. People mentioned here and not mentioned each played a role taking that angry, scared kid of 11 to the self confident, hopefully caring man I am approaching the age of 70.

I will, no matter how I might try, ever be able to repay Boys Town for what they did for me. I have been able to volunteer in various alumni activities over the years and even been privileged the past 4 years to serve on the Boys Town National Alumni Association Board of Directors…the past 3 as Vice President…hope in some small way I help make the association better for the future generations of alumni. I step down from this position during this trip giving another alumnus the opportunity to serve.

I will always be grateful to Boys Town, the brotherhood of brothers and most importantly I will always call it home….I look forward to the journey home next week!

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