We couldn’t have done it without the help of thousands of people. Fifteen years ago we were first received by the then American Indian College fund president, Rick Williams, in Denver, CO. He recommended that we contact the Fort Peck Reservation where we met former Community College president, Jim Shanley. We were embraced by tribal council members, Darryl Red Eagle (now deceased) and John Morales, and then we were introduced to Kenny Smoker, a visionary for the Fort Peck people. That’s how it all began.
Fast forward 14 years: we just completed our 2018 Christmas on the Reservation and it was by far our best ever. We have so many people in front of the camera and behind the camera, so to speak, to thank.
First, we must thank Kenny Smoker and HPDP for their year-round, tireless effort of doing all the behind the scenes work, contacts, planning, organizing, and staffing to make each of our events better than the last one. When we started our work on the Reservation, Kenny didn’t have any people employed in his group. Now the number is approaching 200!
Next is Dr. Megan Cartillar, the full-time Chiropractor and clinic director of HPDP. What a breath of fresh air she is! She is on her third year on the Reservation and she is making a huge difference in the lives of many. Dr. Megan makes everything she is involved with better, more efficient, and easier for the next person. She is truly a remarkable person and a great role model for females on and off the reservation. She truly cares for these kids!
I’d like to thank all the teachers, principals, superintendents, and school volunteers that made this year’s Christmas on the Reservation so smooth for the kids! Most people don’t know about the volunteer hours and resources that schools and staff make each and every year: from matching and sizing gifts for each child, to wrapping, etc. It wouldn’t be possible without each and every one of you!
Thank you to Darryl Werner, owner of Main Street Grocery in Poplar, for going the extra mile in fulfilling our large food order. He made a special trip to Billings to pick up food and supplies that he was unable to get from his usual distributors. This shows you what kind of a person he is. With his help we were able to feed 400 families this Christmas!
Thank you to Lynne Monson, director of music at Wolf Point High School. Each year she generously allows musical instruments to be used by the Love Has No Color rock n roll band for concerts in the summer. She also inspires and encourages so many kids on the Reservation to get involved with music. Her enthusiasm for music quietly guides many a student, long after their days in high school. This year we donated more musical equipment to the Wolf Point and Frazier School systems. Music is a universal language that instills hope and courage in students who get involved with it.
Thank you to the Chiropractors, staff, family members, and patients (now north of 1,000) that have journeyed to the Reservation for all of these years. A common thread that binds us all is the caring and compassion for those temporarily in turmoil and perilous circumstances. The kids did not ask to be placed in these circumstances. Without the efforts of these brave men and woman, there would be no Love Has No Color.
Thank you to all of the donors to this year's Christmas on the Reservation. The toys, clothing, winter coats, boots, gloves, hats, etc., along with the very generous monetary donations, made this year our best ever. We are especially grateful that we were able to provide food and household supplies to 400 families.
Thank you to the builders of the Geodescent solar powered greenhouse. It's up and will be fully functional in the spring of 2019. It is so incredible to look at! It almost looks like Epcot in Disney. It is the start of growing sustainable, organic vegetables and fruit, as well as uniting elders and kids. It took years of thought, planning, and financing from HPDP and the Tribal Council to make this happen. This is the new era of thinking outside the box that is making such a difference on the Reservation. I also want to make a special shout out to Martin of HPDP for bringing a higher level of nutrition to the reservation!
Thank you to the law enforcement people that work at the Fun Days during the summer and cook the hamburgers and hot dogs. It allows the kids to see the police in a new light: helping, guiding, and working for a better Reservation instead of the very tough job they have of enforcing the law.
Thank you to the donors of the past who have created a community of like-minded people that just love what Love Has No Color stands for. Most of the members are with us for the long haul and continue to donate, participate in our trips to the Reservation, and refer in other donors who wish to be involved. They add an economic reality that has to be present before such widespread help can be provided for the kids.
Thank you to Ray White Tail Feather for graciously opening up his trading post for the Love Has No Color volunteers each year.
Thank you to kids on the Reservation for their colorful thank you cards that we receive every year.
Thank you to the teachers, parents, and elders who have shared their kind words and their beautiful stories about at risk kids turning their lives around.
Thank you to the residents of the Fort Peck Reservation for welcoming us. Each year you make us feel more and more life family.
A special thanks goes out to all of the behind the camera people not mentioned above.
There is a new awakening that is happening on the Reservation. We are all connected, we are all one people.