Meeting The Need In SD

Dallas and Mary Dietrich turned their tragedy into accessibility, for individuals with disabilities.

In the winter of 1997, the Keystone, South Dakota couple was traveling with their son, daughter, and son-in-law on Interstate 90.  They were involved in an auto accident that killed the three children, cracked some of Mary’s ribs, and left Dallas with back and spinal cord injuries.

Before the accident, Dallas had often dreamed of creating a children’s summer camp in the hills of SD.  That dream materialized after the accident when they were wondering how to move forward with life.  They purchased the town of Otho, SD.  The couple recognized the need for accessible vacation destinations.  They turned an old mine, a dilapidated bunkhouse, cookhouse, supervisors’ cabin and office into a resort that is available to anyone.

The first group stayed at the resort, now called Meeting the Need, in September 2003, and the Otto Tin Mine was added to the National Historic Register in 2004.  Grants, donations, and volunteers made it happen and they still operate without paid employees.  Dallas passed away a year ago, but the vision and efforts continue, through Mary, and the countless volunteers who make it happen.

The resort has 23 beds and 2 walled tents, but they can accommodate more. There are spaces for tents and small RVs.  They also now have a Tree House that is 12 feet up in the air and includes a 200 ft. ramp so that children who are wheelchair users can use it.

The resort is open May-September.  Individuals with disabilities are welcome too, but those with disabilities are given preference.                                                A photo of Meeting the Need Resort, showing the long accessible ramp for wheelchair users.