Border Angel Grave, Frank Ferree

Harlingen, Texas

Created by Mr Cole's 7th Grade Social Studies Class at Berta Cabaza Middle School.

Thanks to Santos Canales for all her information.

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Next to the marker is a cement monument with the following inscription:

HEADQUARTERS SITE

VOLUNTEER BORDER RELIEF

(AYUDA VOLUNTARIA FRONTERIZA) 1943

INCORPORATED TO EXTEND FREE

AND VOLUNTARY AID TO THE HOMELESS,

THE HUNGARY AND ILL

BY BORDER RESIDENTS WHO CARE.

In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." MATTHEW 25: 40

 

Monument was erected in 1974 by the City of Harlingen in recognition of Ferree's work in helping the homeless on both sides of the border.

Name:

No name to cemetery, but grave is that of Frank Ferree known as the "Border Angel."

Age:

Established March 10, 1983 upon the death of Frank Ferree. Although it is illegal to bury within the city limits, unless it is a designated and legal cemetery, Harlingen City commissioners granted permission for burial in Ferree' s own backyard.

Size:

Only one grave, not fenced.

Location:

It is located in the northern part of the city, near the 499 Loop at the corner of Ferree and 7th streets, on 7th street

Marker:

Frank E. Ferree

Aug 6 1894 - MAR 10 1983

PRESIDENTE AYUDA VOLUNTARIA

FRONTERIZA

1942 FUNDADOR

Type of Markers:

There are three markers on the grave, a wooden cross, a metal funeral home marker, and a Fleur-de-lis cross of terrazzo-like material. (Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home)

Condition:

The grave is well maintained by the organization. It is not fenced, located next to the street curb on 7th. There is some succulent vegetation over the plot.

Type of Cemetery and Owner:

It is a private cemetery, owned by the estate of Frank Ferree or the Volunteer Border Relief Organization that Ferree founded during his lifetime. The director of the organization is Diana Hurman of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Caretaker is Roberto Rodriguez who has lived on the property since before Ferree's death and continues to live on Ferree's property across the street from the grave.

The plot is laid out on a west to east axis with the head to the west and the feet to the east. The grave is defined by an unpainted wooden border.


History

Notable person is Frank E. Ferree, also known as the "Border Angel," "Gringo Messiah," and "Saintly Scavenger" devoted his life to helping the poor, the homeless, and the sick for 42 years.

Dying in March at the age of 88 years, Ferree, was to have received the "President's Volunteer Action Award" on April 13, 1983. He was to have received the award with 20 other volunteer recipients at a White House luncheon with President Ronald Reagan.

He was born in Valley, Nebraska, lived in the Rio Grande Valley for about 42 years. He served in the U. S. Army in Europe during World War I. It was after his discharge from the army, at the age of 25, that he began his lifelong work to help the less fortunate.

He received many accolades and awards, as well as twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but none of these honors meant anything to him. He maintained his mission until his death, and that mission continues today through the organization that he founded. The foundation receives no public funds. All donations come from others like Ferree who understand and see the need of the less fortunate. Today, they deliver a truck load of bread weekly to a Colonia in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

 

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