Boys Town New Peak for Boes
Omaha World-Herald, Friday,
April 15, 2005
by Rick Ruggles, World-Herald Staffwriter
in Father Flanagan's footsteps
Girls and Boys Town Leaders:
The Rev. Edward Flannigan, 1917 - 1948
Monsignor Nicholas Wegner 1948 - 1973
Monsignor Robert Hupp, 1973 - 1985
The Rev. Val Peter, 1985 - present
The Rev. Val Peter lifted
the Rev. Steve Boes'
left hand toward the ceiling, as though Boes were a boxer who
had just won a bout.
In a way, he had.
The Girls and Boys Town National Board of Trustees
on Thursday selected Boes from 150 priests and lay people to be
the next executive director of the institution for abused and
neglected children. The 70 year-old Peter will retire from the
top job June 30.
Boes, 45, will take over the following day.
He has spent the past eight years at the St. Augustine
Indian Mission in Winnebago. Neb. Boes said in an interview Thursday
that he enjoys striving to reveal the beauty inside children with
He compared it to a beadwork band that a Winnebago
artist made for Boes' cowboy hat, which he likes to wear sports
events and various functions.
The artist intentionally put a bead out of place,
Boes said, "because God places a flaw in us, an imperfection,
and that doesn't make us any less beautiful
kids, it's a great message for them."
Boys Town's board chairman, John Gillin, introduced
Boes at a press conference Thursday afternoon at the agency's
national headquarters near 132nd Street and West Dodge Road. Boes
will become the fifth leader in the institution's 88 year history.
Gillin said earlier in the day through a press release:
"The fact that Father Boes is an Omaha Archdiocesan priest
confirms there is exceptional talent in the area and maintains
a long-standing tradition of this great organization's ties to
the Omaha community and the Catholic Archdiocese."
Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss had wanted to appoint
an Archdiocese of Omaha priest much sooner, but Peter and the
board preferred a national search. The dispute led to Curtiss'
resignation as board chairman in 2003.
Peter said Thursday: "We had a national search,
and the best person for the job was found right here in the Archdiocese
Peter said that shows Boys Town intends to maintain
it relationship with the archdiocese.
Peter will continue to be pastor of the Boys Town
parish, and Boes will be associate pastor.
But Boes will oversee the entire Boys Town enterprise,
from its many long- and short-term residential programs for children
to it health-care programs.
Curtiss sent out a press release saying he was pleased
that Boes was chosen.
Boes told the small gathering at Boys Town that
as a mountain climber, serving as Boys Town's executive director
would prove a high mountain to scale.
Boes said in an interview that he is a serious technical
climber who attends climbing clinics and uses ropes and equipment
to scale peaks in the Rockies.
"I think it's a great symbol for me,"
he said. "I am a risk-taker who always prepares well."
"I always study the mountain. I always do my
homework," he said. "It's a pretty good analogy for
what's going to happen here."
He said he was asked last August by the archbishop
to apply for the job.
Among those at the gathering were his parents, Mary
Jane and Gene Boes of Elgin, Neb. and three of his five siblings.
Boes is the oldest of six children.
He was born in Carroll, Iowa and graduated from
Pope John Central Catholic High School in Elgin. His father was
a manager of grain elevators.
Gene Boes said of his son, "He's very sincere
about what he does, very ambitious about what he does."
Boes has an uncle, the Rev. Marvin Boes, who is
a retired priest in Sioux City, Iowa.
Boes attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
for two years, studying primarily journalism and advertising,
before he decided to become a priest. He has a bachelor's degree
in sociology from St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University
of St. Thomas in Minnesota; a master's degree in theology and
divinity from the St. Paul Seminary College at the University
of St. Thomas; and a master's degree in counseling from Creighton
He said he was excited but confident about becoming
Boys Town's next boss.
"Gosh, I'm going to be the fourth successor
to Father Flanagan," Boes said. "I'm just so honored
to be next in line."
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