United Veterans Beacon House Stories
The Nights The Lights Were Out In Promise, SD
The van and trailer were loaded to the max as we set out on our long and tiring trip to Promise, South Dakota. With Peter Forbes at the helm and along with Mike Breighner and Joe Sherman I was traveling to South Dakota to help with the beginning renovations on the United Veterans Beacon House at the former Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe - Lakota Akicita Veterans Center. Along the way we stopped in Cleveland, Ohio to pick up foodstuffs for the Promise UVBH from Gary Curran, Post OH-10. Now with every conceivable space filled in the van and trailer we moved forward.
I wanted to go on this trip for the same reasons that I have been on other trips - to help Veterans less fortunate than I am because if a Veteran is not going to help a Veteran, who will?
I have skills that help when renovations are needed in a UVBH. I am retired and since I have been involved with the organization and working on projects I probably need to look for a job just to get some rest.
As a National Board Member I have made a commitment to do all that I can to support the programs of the organization and I believe that there is no better way than to do it than "hands on".
The long trip of over 1600 miles to Promise was made in two and a half days - we traveled 4,000 miles all together. We saw buffalo, pheasant, grouse, horses, mule deer, whitetail deer, cattle and acres and acres of sunflowers and miles and miles and miles of road. I didn't do any of the driving but believe me it is tiring just to ride in the van for that long.
On the first night we stayed at the house. It was an adventure because there's no water and no toilets working yet and it was pretty cold.
Just doing the shopping for supplies we needed was a challenge because it was twenty-eight miles one way to get anything. There were only three small stores where we could shop and it required visits to all three stores to get close to what we needed to work.
We worked on unloading the trailer, getting the boiler and water service in place, power washing the exterior, running new water lines to take water away from the building and generally starting the renewal of the building. We worked hard but there is still a lot to do.
I made many new friends within the tribe and on two occasions we were treated to great dinners by Terry Ducheneaux - great steaks, pork and grape salad! I celebrated my birthday while in Promise. Danny LaPlante brought the chili and Patsy and Bob Marshall brought the buffalo barbeque, burgers, beans and all the trimmings for a great meal along with a beautiful birthday cake. We celebrated after working flat out all day but it was great.
Mike, Joe and I participated in a traditional sweat with Leon Red Dog, Spiritual Advisor with the Lakota Akicita. The sweat was a very spiritual experience and one that I will remember forever.
Bob is Post Commander for Post SD-01 and Leon Red Dog is the Vice Commander for SD-01.
This tells you of just some of the experiences in Promise. We made the whole 4,000 trip with no major incidents. We worked long days, traveled back and forth to Mobridge where we eventually had to get rooms to be able to shower and sleep. We have a lot more to do.
Make your commitment today!
You will feel good about helping!