As Boys Town celebrates their 100th anniversary there will be a new symbol at its entrance to the campus in west Omaha. Boys Town President and National Executive Director Father Steven Boes says the first symbol was a boy with a pained expression on his face reaching his hand upward. He says Father Edward Flanagan never liked that statue because it made the boys look needy and weak. Then Howard Loomis, who had suffered polio, was dropped off at Boys Town in the 1920’s.
Father Boes says, “So when his mother left he said, Howard let’s go. Time to meet the boys. Howard said he couldn’t walk. Father Flanagan was worried because he didn’t think he would be able to take care of little Howard because he couldn’t walk. Father Flanagan’s boys stepped up and took care of the problem. They started carrying him on their backs everywhere.” The famous statue of “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother” is of Howard Loomis and Rubin Granger, two residents of Boys Town.
Father Boes says Boys Town has changed dramatically over the past 100 years and now has locations throughout the country. He says they are committed to preventative services that are community based. He says 96% of the children they serve across the United States never leave home to get their help.
Boys Town started accepting girls into their program in 1979 and now serve families from across the country. It was time to change their image to reflect those changes.
A new 7-foot, 650-pound statue now sits at the entrance to Boys Town. It is that of a little girl riding on the back of her Boys Town brother. Father Boes says, “He is stepping forward into a brighter future with determination and confidence despite the challenges he faces. On his back his ‘little sister’ is laughing. Her ponytails flying in the wind. This will tell the world there is healing and hope for every family. For every community.”
The “Two Brothers” statue is now located in their Hall of History.