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Dallas Dietrich, champion for the disabled, founder of Meeting the Need.

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. Visibility was close to zero. 

“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 loosing those buildings would be trashing history. And the couple didn’t stop until they had refurbished those and added four more bunkhouses plus a “tree house” 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 tent 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. 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.

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