Going overseas is no vacation, at least not for our military servicemen and women. But soon disabled American veterans will get some R & R in the beautiful Black Hills.
From the outside, it looks like an ordinary cabin surrounded by the howling winds of South Dakota. But step inside and you can tell there's something special about it for more reasons than one.
"From the governor's housing project standpoint, this home is completely different than what we normally do," Steve Maruska, production manager at the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield, said.
This cabin was built by inmates at the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield. It's part of a non-profit organization called Operation Black Hills Cabin. Its mission is to do something special for the men and woman of our military who have done so much for our country.
The inmates have built plenty of homes through the governor's housing project to help needy families, but this one is being built solely for disabled veterans who have been injured in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Maruska says being locked up in prison away from family is no vacation either, but the inmates have taken a special interest in this cabin because it's going to help injured American soldiers be with their families.
"They're taking a lot of pride in what they're doing here. We do have veterans here actually working on the project," Maruska said.
The cabin is 1,200 square feet. It has wooden style floors, vaulted ceilings, three bedrooms and two bathrooms that are handicap accessible, and a beautiful fireplace.
While most of the materials were donated, the cabinets for this cabin were built by inmates.
But the veterans won't be vacationing here in Springfield.
That's because the cabin has been hauled to Custer where injured veterans will be able to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Black Hills with their loved ones.
"For a week at a time, we offer a get away for these families that have given so much for us at no cost to them," Jeff Baird said.
Baird is the co-founder of Operation Black Hills Cabin.
"We thought what could we do other than to donate to organizations that are helping now, we thought could we start something different that would make a difference and let these folks know and their families know that we really appreciate what they did and it's just one way of saying thank you to them," Baird said.
"It's going to be real cozy. If you look behind you, it has a wide open end. It'll be looking over a valley. That's why they wanted all the glass on this end of the house," Maruska said.
A place to look out and see how much they're appreciated.
"I think it's a good payback for what the members of our community to not only for the materials and monetary donations to it too, but so that some of the members of our service can have a vacation with their families," Maruska said.
There will be an open house for the cabin April 18. Eleven families have already signed up. Learn more about Operation Black Hills Cabin online.