Boys Town founder Father Edward J. Flanagan had a remarkable talent for coining phrases that helped people understand why the mission of caring for troubled children was so important — phrases that connected with listeners and lingered in their hearts long after their interaction with Father Flanagan ended:
"When you help a child today, you write the history of tomorrow." and "The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God's work, not mine."
Now, in celebration of Boys Town's 100th anniversary as a national leader in child, family, and community services, a few of Father Flanagan's quotes, paired with poignant Boys Town images, are enshrined in a unique set of three commemorative coins from the United States Mint.
How the Coins Connect with Boys Town
Several features connect the pieces — a $5 gold coin, a silver dollar, and a clad half dollar — to Boys Town's history and progress. For the first time in the history of the U.S. Mint, Boys Town coin designs tell a story on both the obverse and reverse sides.
The coins display phrases significant to the history of Boys Town. The $5 gold coin, for example, features an outstretched hand holding a young oak tree growing from an acorn. As stated in the idiom, "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow," this design represents the potential of each child Boys Town has helped to grow into a productive, successful adult.
The silver dollar shows a young girl sitting alone and gazing upward into the branches of an oak tree, looking for help. The deliberate negative space around her conveys a sense of loneliness, isolation, and helplessness. The script is flipped on the reverse side, where an oak tree offers shelter and a sense of belonging to the family joining hands below it. One of Father Flanagan's phrases provides a message of hope below the image, ". . . you write the history of tomorrow."
Finally, the half dollar shows Boys Town's growth from two boys approaching the historic pylon to the homes that today offer children healing and hope.
Carry a memento of Father Flanagan's dream in your pocket.
Visit catalog.usmint.gov by December 31, 2017, to purchase a set of Boys Town coins. A portion of each purchase goes to Boys Town to carry out the important work of caring for and assisting children and families in underserved communities across America.