Staying warm on Rosebud Reservation takes a lot of firewood

South Dakota News

ROSEBUD RESERVATION, S.D. (KELO) — Our weather may be nice now, but as you recall, earlier this month, it was brutal.

South Dakota experienced one of the longest cold stretches in the state’s history. It was life threatening for some, like on reservations where the elderly struggle sometimes to have heat. 

On the Rosebud Reservation:

“It keeps them warm, keeps them heated,” Firewood for Elders volunteer Daniel Gangone said.

A broken window can leave a family member broken hearted.

That’s why Daniel Gangone volunteers his time with the ‘Firewood for Elders’ program; making life-saving deliveries to the tribal elders; many of who rely on this resource for heat.

“At the most deliveries per day, we can get up to 10 to 12 per day,” Gangone said.

The program started seven years ago when Reverend Lauren Stanley saw a need.

Stanley explained that another minister took a tree down and told him he could have the wood if he removed it from the property, and ever since then, they’ve been splitting wood almost daily and loading it up piece by piece.

“It is what ministry is supposed to be, we are not here just to worship in church, our ministry is to care for all the people who’ve been entrusted to us,” Stanley said.

A commitment to helping others that gives them a warming feeling when they go to bed at night.

“Like I accomplished something, kept somebody warm today, kept some babies warm, helping my people out,” Gangone said.

So far this winter they have delivered over 57 thousand pieces of firewood to those who need it.

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