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​​​Fr. Edward J. ​Flanagan

Father Edward J. Flanagan ​was ​born in 1886 in County ​Roscommon, ​Ireland and immigrated to America in 1904. He was assigned to the Diocese of Omaha in 1912 and was appointed Assistant Pastor to Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Omaha one year later.

Flanagan opened his first Boys’ Home in a run-down Victorian mansion in downtown Omaha. In 1921, the Boys’ Home moved to Overlook Farm in western Omaha where it remains today. 

Father Flanagan and Boys Town gained international prominence with the success of the 1938 movie, “Boys Town.” Flanagan became an acknowledged expert in the field of child care, and toured the United States discussing his views on juvenile delinquency. Flanagan had a dream that children of every race, color and creed could be productive citizens if given love, a home, an education and a trade.

After World War II, President Truman asked Father Flanagan to ​travel to Asia and Europe to attend discussions about children left orphaned and displaced by the war. During a tour of Europe, he fell ill and died of a heart attack in Berlin, Germany, on May 15, 1948. He is buried at the Dowd Memorial Catholic Chapel at Boys Town.

Read more about Father Flanagan.

"The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God’s work, not mine."

Father Flanagan

Msgr. Nicholas H Wegner

Monsignor Nicholas H. Wegner was born in 1898 near Humphrey, ​Nebraska, the 11th of 12 children in a farm family. Wegner attended St. Joseph’s Seminary in Illinois and went on to study in Rome, where he was ordained in 1925. Upon returning to Omaha, he initially served as the assistant pastor at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral and was eventually appointed assistant chancellor. In 1948, he was named as Boys Town’s second executive director.

Under Monsignor Wegner’s watchful care, Boys Town doubled in population, gained solid financial footing, and expanded educational, vocational, athletic, and arts opportunities for its residents. Monsignor Wegner retired in 1973. He passed away on March 18, 1976, and the Boys Town Middle School was fittingly named Wegner Middle School in his honor in 1977.

"With the help of God and ​the prayer of our friends, the good work so ably begun by Father Flanagan and carried to such glorious heights will continue to prosper and meet with success."

Monsignor Wegner

Msgr. Robert P. Hupp

Monsignor Robert P. Hupp, a native of Clearwater, Nebraska, was born in 1915, the oldest of nine children. After his ordination, he served as a Navy chaplain during World War II and founded Christ the King Catholic Church in Omaha. He was named the third Executive Director of Boys Town in 1973 and served in that capacity until retiring in 1985.He passed away on August 29, 2003, and is buried in Omaha.

"We see far when we stand on the shoulders of giants. It was the charismatic program innovator, Father Flanagan, complemented by the administrative executive, ​Monsignor Wegner, who provided the frame for me to climb."

Monsignor Hupp

Fr. Valentine Peter

Father Valentine Peter served as Boys Town’s fourth executive director. Born in Omaha in 1934, Father Peter held doctoral degrees in canon law and theology, and he served as executive director until he retired in 2005.

Father Peter’s service to children as a youth advocate, ​educator, and friend spanned more than four decades. He served on the boards or committees of more than 20 national and local organizations. He also published numerous books and articles.

"Father Flanagan’s mission is a gift to all of us … To carry out this mission requires an enormous effort, but the blessings are even greater."

Father Peter

Fr. Steven E. Boes
July 2005-Present

In July 2005, Father Steven E. Boes was appointed as Boys Town's fifth and current National Executive Director. Under Father Boes’ leadership, Boys Town is implementing its unique Integrated Continuum of Care across America. Father Boes also is expanding Boys Town’s role in advocating change in the current child-care system, which often offers fragmented and ineffective treatment.​

Father Boes is a teacher and advocate for children. A native of Carroll, Iowa and the oldest of six children, he is experienced in helping children from diverse cultures and spiritual backgrounds.​