DTOM 22/0 Ranch pushing to expand reach and resources

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The DTOM 22/0 Veterans Ranch just north of Warner has been slowly making its home in the area for the past few years. But this year has seen a transformation with the ranch itself and its relationships with surrounding communities.

The ranch has slowly been increasing its outreach to veterans, through its therapy and educational programs. But recently they’ve seen a spike in veterans reaching out for help.

“Even though the pandemic, we’ve seen a spike in the number of vets that need help. So we have a total of 252 active vets in South Dakota,” said trauma counselor Dr. Tracy Diefenbach.

And that means more tasks need to get done and move the ranch further along in its long-term goals. But they’ve had help from many community members this year, not only financially but in volunteers as well.

“To have all those groups of all different individuals come from all over the state, and actually ended up being a tri-state area. And work together and spend the whole day, and put in over 400 hours of volunteer service hours, was just amazing and got so much done,” said Founder/CEO Chris Reder.

They’ve been able to make progress with their horse therapy methods, and have started to see scientific backing of their work. But the plan isn’t just to work through therapy, instead of looking towards a center of help for veterans.

“But my long-term goal is to create a residential program here at the ranch. That’s long-term, a five-year residential plan,” said Diefenbach.

Reder said the more they can get the local communities involved, the more it will feel like a part of the region. And he said that’s vital for them to become good neighbors, and work together.

“It’s a healing place, it’s healing when you bring the community in and they get actually hands-on with the action, make a difference in someone’s life,” said Reder.

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