VIDEO: Tears and Joy as Boys Town New England Says Farewell to First Family
Boys Town New England held a farewell barbecue for the Etzell family on Thursday afternoon. The Etzells are leaving Portsmouth to start a new chapter of their lives in Colorado.
It's hard to imagine Boys Town New England without the Etzells, said executive director Bill Reardon on Thursday afternoon.
"We're going to miss them," Reardon said. "They have been a big part of Boys Town."
John and Allyson Etzell, the first couple to move to the campus when it first opened in 2005, are leaving Portsmouth to start a new chapter of their lives in Denver, CO.
The Etzells run the Portsmouth shelter known as the "Treatment Family Home for Young Children." Besides their own three children, the Etzells were currently providing care for seven children, ranging in age from 4 to 11.
"It's time to start a new chapter in our lives...It will be hard," said John Etzell. "We're only better parents because of Boys Town and what we learned," said his wife, Allyson.
Recent budget cuts from the state have not made taking care of seven kids easy, however. John Etzell said the shelter's part-time staff was removed earlier this year, leaving only him and Allyson to take care of the real-life "Plus 8" household.
However, leaving Boys Town will still be difficult, said the Etzells. Both Allyson and John talk about the departure in the video feature above.
The Etzells' legacy will also live on in a new family. Jeremy Stucky, along with his wife, will take over responsibility of the Portsmouth emergency shelter.
Stucky, along with other Boys Town employees, talk about the Etzells' impact on Boys Town in a second video featured above.