Thackerson, 40, said he thinks the economy has affected donations because Boys Ranch Town has always had contributors to help meet its needs. He said many people may not know about the home’s bleak situation.
"I think just a few folks are beginning to understand the severity of what’s happening. Now we know it’s affecting us,” he said. "When the economy crashed, sometimes there’s a ripple effect. There’s a delay. Now we’re feeling it.”
He said plans are in place to close one of the cottages if the financial situation doesn’t improve. Thackerson said he is not planning to turn out any of the home’s residents. Rather, Boys Ranch Town will stop accepting more boys as the home becomes unable to hire adequate staff.
Thackerson said the boys have been assured that they will have a home at the ranch town, even as the home tries to remain afloat. He said the boys are ages 7 to 18. Some are in the custody of the state Department of Human Services, while others come from families who are unable to care for them.
Call to provide a home
Thackerson said he grew up in Eldorado, Texas, near an independently run boys ranch town. He said he cried when he was about 5 years old and his mother told him the residents’ parents could not adequately care for them.
A graduate of Texas Tech University, Thackerson was appointed as a collegiate missionary to Boys Ranch Town in Edmond in 1990.
"It’s a calling from the Lord (that) I’ve felt since I was a little kid,” he said.
Thackerson said he became Boys Ranch Town’s administrator 13 years ago, and like the boys, he sees the ranch town as home.
"Hopefully, we would not have to tell anyone they have to leave. That would be devastating to any one of our kids,” he said. "It’s not a camp they go to. This is their home.”