After nearly a year of construction, there is now a building on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation dedicated to seniors. And Wednesday was the center's grand opening. The Porcupine District Elderly Building is a model of what can be accomplished when an entire community pulls together.
Prayers, blessings, and gratitude filled the new Porcupine Elderly Center Wednesday. "It's just chills up my back," said District Center Manager Paul John Iron Cloud.
Iron Cloud says the facility has come a long way from a year ago when the Elderly Meal Program was nearly terminated. "When I first came into this job they handed me a paper saying that we're going to shut you down because you guys are not serving the elderly meals because you guys don't have a building," said Iron Cloud.
So he turned to the community for help. The district donated $100,000, the Oglala Lakota College donated windows and labor, and the Housing Authority donated sheet rock and man hours. "Now the elders have to come," said Housing Authority Executive Director Paul Iron Cloud with a laugh.
"If we come together as a people, as the great Sioux Nation this is just an example of what we can do," said open house M.C. Yvonne DeCorey.
And in a community that values its elders so much, they say the end result is worth all the hard work put into the center.
"Our elders are our wisdom keepers," said DeCorey.
"It's just a positive thing in our community, especially for our elderly," said Paul John Iron Cloud.
The project would have cost around $200,000 if it hadn't been for the many donations and volunteers hours offered by community members.