Orphaned as a young boy, Edward was abused, neglected and humiliated by relatives for 12 years. After his aunt and uncle rescued him, they turned to Boys Town to help him adjust to life in a family. Edward's Boys Town Family Consultant helped him set goals, finish school and learn to trust again. Watch how your support helps kids like Edward replace hell and torture with hope and transformation.
Watch Edward's Story
Edward: It was torture. It's definitely not something I would ever put a kid through. It was Hell. March 22, 2011, it was the day I decided to run from the farm, 27 miles away, in the middle of nowhere. That's when my Mom passed, and then, two years later my Dad passed.
Skyler: He went and lived with his aunt and uncle.
Edward: I was fully in their guardianship. Everything started like it was a normal life. Nothing was bad.
Debbie: They kept him virtually a prisoner on that farm.
Skylar: He was verbally and physically abused. He would have to stay outside from 6 a.m. till they got home from work. He was not allowed in the house. He was locked outside the house, if it was winter out, summer out, whatever.
Edward: So, it would be negative 30, you know, blowing 30 mile an hour, 40 mile an hour winds, and I'd be sitting outside waiting for them to come home at 10 or 11 o'clock at night.
Skylar: He had accidents when he was about five and six years old. He was made to stay in the shower with his dirty underwear over his head and sit in the shower for a while with that. So, he's been through a lot of stuff.
Edward: My little cousin, God bless her heart, found me on Facebook and said, "Oh my God! Do you remember me? You don't remember Nana and Aunt Debbie? Oh my God!" Yeah I remember you. Then the thought dawned on me of what if I can get out. What if I can make it up before I'm 18? I still got a chance. Over the next two weeks was pretty much the time I prepared myself of where I would go, what I would do and how would I get there. I pretty much had it all planned out. I left at about 11:00 and got to my friends house.
Debbie: I don't think I will ever forget it because he was yelling, "You gotta help me! You gotta help me! I'm hidden out here you gotta come get me."
Edward: My Nana, Jasmine, her friend, Aunt Debbie and Uncle Don came to get me. Oh my God, that trip! I mean I don't know how much relief I felt. It was just... all other words just whew, just rushed, just were out of the way.
Debbie: I said one way or another we will do what we have to do but they are not getting their hands on you again. They are not going to do this anymore. He was terrified that they were going to find him. When he first got here I couldn't go into the store and I'd go eat and he would stay right behind me. He was just so terrified that they were going to call them and tell them "He's in the mall, come and get him." that he wouldn't leave my side. It's all right. They can't take you. They can't touch you. They can't do anything anymore.
Skyler: They took him in and got involved with us.
Debbie: So he went from locked down to he's a wild child now. I just felt bad putting boundaries on him, but then it got to the point where he was now stepping over the boundaries. That is when Skyler was in there telling me you need to set some kind of limitations because if you don't, he's gonna run right over the top of you.
Skyler: Just showing him how to make friends because in the situation he was in before he got involved with me, he wasn't really allowed to have many friends or people that he could associate with. By showing him clean, healthy supports through sports, working, different places that he can go work at and how to respect the adults that you live with.
Debbie: Now that Skyler taught me how to be a parent.
Edward: It's basically, you know, he helped me get my life set up to where I should be. Up to like a 17-year-old's standards way of living. This is how you should be living. You should be doing this. You should have a job. So he helped me get a job and all that. So he's taught me a lot.
Debbie: Told us, you know, first of all, he had not been to a doctor, a dentist, had his eyes checked, nothing the entire time they had him. And Skyler would offer to take him to some of his appointments. He was there to talk to him and help him out.
Skyler: He graduated from high school. He was not on track to graduate from high school. Had no long term plan set out for himself for after he did graduate high school, and seeing him lately with getting into the army and getting ready to go into the army in a couple weeks, graduating high school, and just seeing him succeed.
Edward: All that stuff I'm leaving behind. I'm not gonna see it for a while. It's gonna be hard, but I guess I can cope with it, not like before.
Debbie: I hope for everything. I want him to have everything, a good life and everything he's ever wanted.
Edward: Well, that's gonna happen.
Debbie: Sure it is.
Edward: It'll happen one way or another.
Debbie: His mom would be proud. His dad would be, too. He's gonna have it all.