Operation Black Hills Cabin

Lots of places give discounts to veterans as a way of saying thanks for their service. One couple in South Dakota aims to give something more–a free vacation.

Many of my earliest memories are of South Dakota’s Black Hills. It’s a special, privileged feeling to stand among those creaking pines, look out over the prairie, and ponder a fossil trilobite plucked from the hillside. It’s a land of ancient peoples and modern marvels, gold-flecked stream beds and campfires sending embers to meet the sparkling gems of the unobscured Milky Way.

Now, Jeff and Pat Baird of Custer have spearheaded a project to share all that with a few of our nation’s heroes. With the help of retired Air Force colonel Marty Mahrt, retired airline pilot Richard Geeting and hotel manager Ione Fejfar, they’ve secured enough donations to buy and furnish a 1,200 square foot cabin for use by veterans wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan and their families, to complement contributions from various area rentals and businesses.

Qualified veterans receive a free week’s vacation in the cabin or another in the Custer area, along with meals and admission to the many nearby family attractions in the Black Hills.

Operation Black Hills Cabin is a great concept and deserves our support. It can also serve as an inspiration to those who are in a position to copy the idea in other parts of the country.

For more information, check them out on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/operationblackhillscabin.