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South Dakotans Travel To Dominican Republic

January 30, 2012, 6:11 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

South Dakotans Travel To Dominican Republic
A group of South Dakota businessmen and women are on a mission this week to help in the Dominican Republic.  Nine team members are assisting with a building project in the country.

Throughout this week, a South Dakota team will help replace a little shack-like church building.

The car ride to a small community outside La Romana in the Dominican Republic is another example of how different life is here compared to what the team members are accustomed to in South Dakota.

"I came on a trip like this last year and we got back. And as a small business owner, just wanted to see if there was another way that we could get the Sioux Falls business community involved in something like this," Paul Ten Haken said.

So Ten Haken, who owns an online marketing company in Sioux Falls, talked with other businesses in the city about the needs in some of these Dominican communities. Eight companies responded, some of them sending employees on this week-long mission trip to help out. Ten Haken even sent someone from his company.

"I've been to Canada I guess, but it was just a few miles over the border so this is definitely the farthest I've been from home so it's quite an experience," Mark Drzycimski said.

One Drzycimski is thankful he's getting. Ten Haken hopes this is an experience that spreads through the South Dakota business community and that this is a tradition that continues in the future as well.

"I hope this is an annual event that we do every year and business owners in the community will send employees or staff or themselves on a trip like this just to kind of recharge their batteries and put things into perspective," Ten Haken said.

Ten Haken's optimistic employers will want to participate again when they see the pictures and hear the stories their employees bring back. And so far, he's only heard positive feedback from his employee.

"I made sure my name was in the hat and was lucky enough to be drawn. So really happy to be here and for the opportunity," Drzycimski said.

And excited to see a building replaced before his week here is done.

Ten Haken named the group the Dispatch Project. The team will arrive back in South Dakota Sunday evening.

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