"I grew up looking at the south end of a draft horse," said Iowa native, Gilbert Grienke. "I was driving a team of horses behind farm equipment when I was hardly old enough to walk. You love every horse you've ever driven."
Horses are what attracted Gilbert to the Ranch. "You use horses to calm the kids and that was something I hadn't seen before. There is something about horses—their honest, forgiving, and calming demeanor somehow helped raise this old man and keep him out of trouble. They are wonderful around kids."
Gilbert Grienke learned about the Ranch many years ago when "a young fella came to our church and proposed giving money to this outfit in the Dakotas," Gilbert said. "I kind of forgot about it, and then a few years ago a woman from the Ranch spoke at our Bible Study."
At that time, Gilbert and his wife, Arlene, acted on their daily thought, "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah," by making a donation to the Ranch. They've continued to send donations several times a year.
Gilbert and Arlene are a delightful couple who fell in love in a boat. Gilbert is Arlene's second husband—she was widowed after 40 years of marriage and she and her first husband had three children. Gilbert had never married and knew Arlene from the bank in Aurelia, IA, where she worked.
"I knew Gilbert for a long time. In a small town, everybody knows everybody. We both like to fish so we started going fishing," Arlene said.
They both retired (Arlene from the bank and Gilbert from his career as a rural mail carrier), got married, and a year ago, they celebrated 25 years of marriage—years spent fishing, traveling, going downtown for coffee, playing cards, and spending time with Arlene's children and grandchildren. Gilbert broke his hip last March so he hasn't been able to get in and out of the boat, but he is confident they'll be back to fishing by next summer.
In October, Gilbert (90) and Arlene (93) hopped in a van with their "fishing friends," Rev. Larry and Margie Lemke, and visited the Ranch campuses in Fargo, Bismarck, and Minot.
"I was impressed by the cheerful staff we met," Gilbert said. "They were so proud of their facilities and their jobs. When someone enjoys their job, they are successful at it. The children were friendly and respectful of the staff too."
Arlene was especially impressed by the school. "You can just feel the love for the children. Loving teachers surrounded by positive posters and quotes all over the walls and hallways. You left there knowing you were helping some kids that really needed help."
They were both touched by stories. "There are some pretty rotten stories there, you know. It's an awesome task to save these kids," said Gilbert. "The staff love the children and the kids were so appreciative. They were happy and they had good facilities. The kids were busy when they wanted to be busy and could rest when they wanted to rest."
Arlene took a bottle of honey home for each of her grandchildren and plans to tell them about their trip to North Dakota. "I want them to know how much we enjoyed the trip and why we give money to the Ranch. We just think these children are in a very good place. They are very lucky to be where they are so they can receive the help they need."
Gilbert and Arlene recently completed a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) for the Ranch. A CGA involved a transfer of assets to the charity in exchange for a partial tax deduction and a lifetime stream of annual income. Gilbert said, "There is some interest coming back on it. I guess that is the main thing." Gilbert has also included the Ranch in his will.
"I didn't have any of my own kids, so maybe the Ranch kids can sort of be mine," Gilbert said. "I'm proud to support such a good cause. I made a good investment."
Thanks to gifts from our generous donors, the Ranch helps the most troubled, complicated, and amazing kids by providing best-in-class psychiatric therapy and trauma-informed care. If you would like to provide hope and healing for a child at the Ranch, you can give several different ways.
You can give now to meet the needs of our precious children in one of two ways. Give online at DakotaRanch.org/donate, or mail a check to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, PO Box 5007, Minot, ND 58702.
Memorials and Honorariums
When you make a donation in memory or in honor of a loved one, they will live on through programs that provide much-needed care for the hurting children who come to the Ranch. You can make your donation in one of the following ways:
Online at DakotaRanch.org
Select Memorial/Honorarium when completing the donation form.
Phone: Call 1-800-344-0957.
Planned and Estate Gifts
Naming Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch as a beneficiary in your will is one way to leave a legacy that serves God's Kingdom. But, it's not the only way. Other legacy giving options include Charitable Gift Annuities, naming the Ranch as a beneficiary of your retirement plan assets or a life insurance policy, leaving real estate to the Ranch, and more. To learn more, contact one of our Development Officers at 1-800-344-0957. Or, visit our legacy giving website at DakotaRanch.org/legacy for tools and information you can use to maximize your philanthropic goals.
Tree of Life
You can honor or remember a loved one by purchasing a leaf, acorn, or rock on one of our Trees of Life. For a Tree order form, to go DakotaRanch.org and choose "Many Ways to Give" from the dropdown menu. Or call 1-800-344-0957—we can send you an order form or take your information over the phone.
Direct Thrivent Choice Dollars® to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
If you are a Thrivent Financial member, you may have Thrivent Choice Dollars® available to direct to your favorite enrolled charity. Directing Choice Dollars® to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch helps us teach Christian values to the amazing children at the Ranch—values that aid in their healing, provide a foundation of hope, and help them be successful in their treatment.
If you shop online at Amazon.com, AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way to support the Ranch every time you shop, at no extra cost to you. Simply go to smile.amazon.com and select "Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch" as your charity.
Read more stories like this and explore other issues of Ranch Voice here.