Success Stories

Winter Fuel Vouchers for Two Generations

Hilda is a 99-year-old grandmother living in the Fort Thompson community of the Crow Creek Reservation. Hilda is a 99-year-old grandmother living in the Fort Thompson community of the Crow Creek Reservation.

The 99-year-old grandmother living in the Fort Thompson community of the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota doesn’t have a typical living room it is full of band equipment, speakers and sound boards scattered in between the furniture.

You see, Hilda Long Crow’s father, Frank, was a guitar player in the band called “The McGhee’s” and his talent was passed on to his children and grandchildren, who now practice in her basement. Hilda’s daughter, Rose Ducheneaux, knew by the way he tapped his feet that her younger brother would become a drummer and so it is!

Hilda lives at the end of the neighborhood street with her two sons and her two grandchildren. She has lots of grandchildren and is the proud mother of seven children (one passed on). Her younger brother… “the baby” … lives nearby with her sister; we eventually learned “the baby” is 80 years old.

Hilda and husband Ben raised their children on his salary from the Army Corp of Engineers. Ben traveled to work daily from their rural home near Pukwana, S.D. “You take the paved road to the gravel road to the cow path,” according to their daughter Rose. After commuting for many years, Ben came home one day and told her, “I got you a house” in town. This made working and raising the kids more manageable for the family.

Growing up, Hilda worked on her father’s farm. “Outside like the men, all of us girls hauled hay.” They had a big garden with all kinds of vegetables. “He [her father] really was a farmer.” Their transportation was wagon and horses. Today, Hilda receives social security and some retirement from her husband’s work.

Unlike many Hilda’s age, she has very few health problems. Rose recently applied for a walker… “the kind you can sit down in”… so that Rose can maintain her mobility. Rose takes her mom shopping each month, either to Chamberlain (about 20 miles south) or Pierre (about 60 miles northwest). Although Hilda claims she can still drive, she gets picked up for these excursions.

Last year, Hilda received a winter fuel voucher from Partnership With Native Americans® (PWNA) and its Northern Plains Reservation Aid (NPRA) program. Hilda used the voucher to help fill the large propane tank out back, and it helped her get through what was a very long winter.

Rose is glad the winter fuel voucher will be provided for a second winter, because she isn’t sure her mother will receive home energy assistance from LIHEAP. Because Rose is 67, she too received a winter fuel voucher for her home. Recalling one of their worse winters, Rose giggles, “The snow bank was taller than us!” Rose made the mistake of trying to walk across a snowdrift and quickly sank to her chin!

Now a days, Hilda stays pretty close to home, and she layers herself in warm clothes to fend off the chill even without the notorious storms that surface at certain times of the year. PWNA and NPRA are pleased to bring winter warmth to two different households and two generations from the same family along with every other Elder of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.