Pine Ridge, SD – Weekly Report – Nov 11-15, 2019

November 18, 2019

The theme for this week at Pine Ridge was waiting. We were waiting for the house mover to come and take Mr. Don Sharpfish’s house to its new location in Evergreen, SD, about 30 miles from Pine Ridge. It was first scheduled to be moved on Friday, Nov 2. But the mover could not come then because he had another house on his truck, waiting for the owner to finish his foundation. Then it snowed 4-5” over the weekend, which muddied everything up. And that prevented him from moving the house. So, we found other things for the volunteers to do.

Our new volunteers this week came from Minneapolis, MN; Moundridge, KS; and Lacrete, Alberta. Instead of tying down Don’s house, which was the plan, they worked on the foundation, and worked ahead on other items, such as making deck kits which can be installed, once the house is in place. The group also moved scaffolding from the Volunteer Center and stashed them, plus other items, in the Storage and Tool trailers.

Because of the moving schedule, the movers came on Friday and removed both the Tool and Storage trailers. That became a bit of an inconvenience, because it is hard to guess ahead as to what will be needed. But we adapted, and all is well.

The house was finally moved on Saturday, Nov 16. It was quite an operation. Rusty, our mover, really is an expert at the business. Yes, the wheels of the semi-tractor spun, and it lurched a bit, but finally the house left us on Saturday noon. One volunteer, Kyle Dick, from Alberta, stayed specifically to tie the house down. But alas, it was muddy at the site, and the house did not get settled onto the foundation until Sunday noon. By then, Kyle was well on his way home to Alberta.

Tuesday afternoon, because the mover was delayed, the group took a field trip to Wounded Knee, saw the place where Don’s house will be moved, and went on to the Singing Horse Trading Post. It was a lovely afternoon and evening.

After 3 years of living and working in Pine ridge, the site is now closed down. Today, Monday Nov. 18, the place is being transformed. All four FEMA dorm trailers are moved out, and several vehicles have already left. By 2:00pm today, all trailers will be gone. The Kitchen trailer goes tomorrow. The former office trailer (lately dining room), the shower / laundry trailer, and the “yellow” trailer will stay. This place surely looks different than it did last week.

As Lois and I have been closing accounts and visiting with local people, we have heard many affirmations for what MDS represents and has done. As one resident put it, “Others have talked about assisting us, but they soon disappeared; you folks stayed and did what you said you would”. The man at Buche Hardware said, “On behalf of those who cannot say it, I thank you for all that you have done”. May God bless the people of Pine Ridge and those whom we have served.

Long term volunteers which continued were Gene Kaufman (Construction Supervisor), and Lois (Project Director) and Wayne Hochstetler. Jean and Rollin Miller continued as our cooks. We thank all of these folks for their commitment and service to MDS.

After supper, on our final night with the full complement of volunteers, we held our “Final Pine Ridge MDS Awards Night”. After packing things up, Lois and Candace Lautt, volunteer from Minneapolis, discovered many hidden “treasures” in the back of closets and elsewhere which needed a special purpose, such as an award for meritorious service. I found a template for certificates, and using remaining index stock paper, I made certificates to go with the awards. These awards were handed out to each volunteer present, recognizing that many other deserving volunteers had also served during these three years at Pine Ridge. Examples were: Fifth Annual Patience Award; Twenty-third Monthly Ingenuity (or How to Make a Short Board Longer) Award; Third Weekly Strong Fingers Award (for giving messages to sore muscles and hurting joints); Fifty-fifth Monthly Brute Strength Award (he got the 40# barbell); First Annual New Adventure Award; Second Monthly Sparkin’ (or Baby Light My Fire) Award (he received the box of long fireplace matches); and so forth. This Awards Night was a fitting culmination (in our opinion) to the work at Pine Ridge.

Submitted by Wayne Hochstetler, Office Manager, on behalf of this week’s crew

house resting on its new foundation
the former dining room, now a house, being moved