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Dallas Dietrich: Always Put the Less-Abled First

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The semi rig that hit them was doing 75 miles an hour and not stopping. The blizzard they were in was so intense that they were doing only 35 miles an hour while closely watching the shoulder of the interstate for guidance. Close to zero visibility. 

“He scooted us one-and-a-half football fields after he hit us” Dallas said. “So all three of the kids were killed in the back seat and I was crushed between the steering wheel and my seat back.” “They pretty much saved my life with the operation they did on my chest”.

After a series of painful back operations, Dallas was committed to a wheelchair permanently. 

His legs disabled but his heart pumping stronger than ever he refused to stop. So he and wife Mary purchased Otho, the dilapidated remnants of an 1800s mining town.

There were four original buildings on the 101-acre site: the cookhouse and bunkhouse, along with the supervisor’s cabin and office. Though they were dilapidated and sagging, Dallas was convinced that losing those buildings would be trashing history. And the couple didn’t stop until they had refurbished those and added four more bunkhouses plus a “treehouse” perched 12 feet in the air. All are fully and easily handicapped accessible via wooden walkways. 

This rustic resort is fully dedicated to Dallas and Mary’s vision of providing a palace of beauty for all that are physically challenged. It has 23 beds and additional areas for tents and small RV camping.

Always an advocate for the disabled, Dallas was a key organizer of the Black Hills Ski for Light in 1979, the goal of which is simply to provide the disabled the experience of skiing. 

Meeting the Need resort opened to its first group of campers in September of 2003. The Otho Tin Mine was added to the National Historic Register in 2004.

Each year this handsome hideaway hosts many retreats charging only $25 per person per night and waiving those fees for those in need and unable to afford. Adding to the charm and beauty of the resort are close by attractions such as Mount Rushmore monument, The Reptile Gardens, the 1880 Train and Crazy Horse monument. All of these are free to campers. 

Dallas Dietrich was a true visionary and lover of all. To see him drive through his town and wave to all whom he knew by name fully illustrated the beauty of this wonderful man and his humble manner. 

Dallas’s failing body finally succumbed and he passed away on October 29th, 2016. But for all who knew him, he will always be remembered for his welcoming smile, billowing white hair and ability to put anyone instantly at ease. Though mostly he’ll be forever known for his way of challenging all of us to be our best.

To help honor our good friend Dallas for his long-standing contributions toward bettering the lives of others, we have commissioned local artist, James Van Nuys, to create a bronze bust of our beloved friend. The photo at left is of the clay version that's just about ready to go bronze.

When finished, the bust will be proudly displayed as part of a Dallas Dietrich Memorial at one of his favorite places in the world, The Otho Camp, near Keystone, SD. The cost of this project is approximately $17,000.

This is where we really need your help! 

We're asking all those who believe in Dallas' vision to help us reach this important goal. Now it's up to all of us to pitch in and donate the dollars to get this amazing memorial finished!

Thank you all for honoring this great man by giving of your hard-earned dollars!


  • Leah Petrowsky
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $15 
    • 3 yrs


Erik Pedersen
Fresno, CA
Meeting the Need Inc

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