Staying warm on Rosebud Reservation takes a lot of firewood

Local News

ROSEBUD RESERVATION, S.D. (KELO) — Our weather may be nice now, but as you recall, earlier this month, it was brutal. We experienced one of the longest cold stretches in our state’s history with temperatures well below zero. It was life threatening for some, like on our 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 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 by accident when Reveren Lauren Stanley saw a need.

“It was a casual conversation you know you could do this and I was like well that would require a chainsaw wouldn’t it oh yeah you don’t have one flllp that day one of the other ministers in town took a tree down and I said what are you going to do with the wood, he said get it off my property by 5 pm and it’s yours,” Stanley said.

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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