That’s right! There are no bad boys according to Father Edward J. Flanagan. The Roaring Kelly Band remembers the founder of Boy’s Town with a performance or Irish songs and rollicking tunes this Sunday, July 13 from 4 to 6 pm at O’Connor’s Pub, 210 NE 2nd Street, in Delray Beach.
Come on in and we’ll take a moment to raise a glass to good Father Flanagan, born July 13, 1886, in Ballymoe, County Roscommon who was a true friend to children in need. In 1917, Father Flanagan opened his first Boys’ Home in a run-down Victorian mansion in downtown Omaha. In 1918, a boy named Howard Loomis, who was abandoned by his mother, arrived at the Boys’ Home. Howard had polio and wore heavy leg braces which made walking difficult. Many of the older boys would carry Howard up and down the stairs. One day, Father Flanagan asked Reuben Granger, one of the older boys if carrying Howard was hard and Reuben replied with the well-known, iconic phrase, “He ain’t heavy, Father; he’s my brother.”
In 1921, the Boys’ Home, renamed Boy’s Town, moved to Overlook Farm, its present location and became internationally known with the help of the 1938 movie, “Boys Town” staring Spencer Tracy. After Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for his performance and spent his entire acceptance speech talking about Father Flanagan, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences donated a duplicate Oscar statuette to Boys’ Town with the inscription “To Father Flanagan, whose great humanity, kindly simplicity, and inspiring courage were strong enough to shine through my humble effort. Spencer Tracy.” Father Flanagan received many awards for his work with delinquent and homeless boys. In 1946, he traveled to the Republic of Ireland where he announced that the children’s institutions there were “a national disgrace.” Negative comments about him in the Irish press and parliament forced him to leave the country. He was travelling in Germany in 1948 to study child welfare problems when he died of a heart attack. He is interred in Boys Town.
The Roaring Kelly Band celebrates kind-hearted Father Flanagan’s birthday this Sunday at O’Connor’s, the local’s hangout in Pineapple Grove area. It’s ‘come as you are’ with attentive bartenders, strong drinks and Guinness as smooth and tasty as it gets. Step on in and we’ll provide the fun and bounce with hard-driving reels, vicious jigs, hopping hornpipes, and rowdy songs to keep you jumping. See you there!