One Decision Led to a Life Transformed:
Tony and His Brother Found Love and Family at Boys Town
Choices: Tony's Story
It was a stormy night in Detroit about 20 years ago and Tony and his brother had just finished eating dinner out of a dumpster. A priest rescued them and made arrangements for them to come to Boys Town. Tony and his brother made a difficult and scary decision that he says was the one single decision that saved his life. Watch Tony's story and find out what he credits as the reason he and his brother aren't in prison today.
In Tony's words, "When I look at Boys Town and how it has played a significant role in my life and how it has made me the person that I am today, I look back on that one single decision that I made to come to Boys Town as being that which saved my life."
Watch Tony's Story
I'm originally from a Detroit, Michigan. My biological mother was addicted to drugs. And when I was eight months old, having two brothers older than I am, my mother was unable to take care of us. So she gave us to her grandmother which was our great grandmother. We went to go to live with her. We called her mom. She was the only mother that we'd ever known. And when I was around 12 years old she died of a cancer. We lived with various relatives and I can recall having been kicked out from one of our relatives' home that my brothers and I had to kind of live on the streets of Detroit where we dodged gang violence, prostitutes, drugs. My brothers and I remember we had a little game that we played it was called a dumpster diving and that meant that we would go to the local restaurants around our neighborhood and we knew the times that they would throw away their unused food, so we would jump into the trash cans and we would find our dinner there. And we would laugh with each other and happy that we had eaten but we knew that that was not the way we wanted to live.
This priest came to us and said that he wanted us to come to a Boys Town. One of my brothers, Tyrone, sat down with me on a stormy night and said, hey we have no other option. What can we do, we have no one to take care of us. So we came to a decision, conclusion that we would give a Boys Town a chance.
We approached our oldest brother and explained to him what we were going to do, that we were going to take this opportunity and go to Boys Town and he quickly said he was not going to come. Being that we don't have the same fathers, he went on to live with his father leaving Tyrone and I to kinda struggle on our own. But when we landed in Omaha we were greeted by our Family Teaching couple and they welcomed us into their home. We started to open up and we started to figure out that love is not just that which is given to you by your family but others can love you just as much and want the best for you as well.
Being at a place like Boys Town, take advantage of it, and learn from it and you can move forward in life and you can become something bigger than you ever thought you could become. So, my brother Tyrone and I made a commitment that we would stay here at Boys Town and graduate. We both did that. My brother, Tyrone, graduated from Boys Town a year before I did. He went into the United States Army where he served 22 years and retired. I graduated from Boys Town, went to the University of Nebraska in Omaha as well as Bellevue University. My oldest brother who made the decision to not come to Boys Town has served the last 20 years of his life incarcerated.
A lot of our kids come to us, not fitting in and not just what society says they should fit into but not fitting into families. I hope that when they... by the time that they've graduated and left our program, that they are able to move into society and act in a way that allows them to fit in. Now as a family teacher for nearly 16 years here at Boys Town, I try to teach my boys that life is about making decisions. Life is about the choices that we do make and that understanding that success is not always measured in a monetary way. When I look at Boys Town and how it has played a significant role in my life and how it has made me the person that I am today, I look back on that one single decision that I made to come to Boys Town as being that which saved my life.