George and Eleanor Krueger, Monroe, MI, are well aware of the traumas many children endure. In George's 30-year career in law enforcement and Eleanor's 44 years as a school teacher, they both saw firsthand the impact abuse and neglect had on children in their community. Now that they are both retired, they continue to minister to troubled children by supporting Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, both financially and with their time.
George and Eleanor learned about the Ranch more than ten years ago. Someone from the Ranch did a presentation at a Bible class in their church and left some packets explaining more about the ministry. George picked one up, read the stories in Ranch Voice about some of the kids, and told Eleanor about the Ranch ministry. After contacting the Ranch to learn more, they decided the Ranch was a place they wanted to support.
When George inquired about the Ranch at that time, the thing that stood out was how the Ranch stewarded donor dollars. "I was assured that everything you donate goes strictly to the area you donate to. We want to support an agency that is going to fulfill its obligations."
George and Eleanor contributed to the expansion of the Fargo Ranch campus and came to North Dakota for the dedication in 2016 when the buildings were complete.
"We were impressed," George said. "It was very moving to see what the Ranch had done. It was mind-opening to go through the facilities and the classrooms. One of the students came with our group and explained what happens in each of the classrooms. Then we went to the program in the chapel and being able to see and hear the girls [sing] really stood out."
The motivation behind George and Eleanor's giving is their faith. Since their marriage in 1960, they've both been active members of Grace Lutheran Church in Monroe. "As Christians, I feel that giving is expected of us. I think the example of your faith shows you're following God's command—doing what He expects of you," George said.
At the same time, George understands why children come to the Ranch angry at God, or not believing in Him. "When you hear how they come here, they really do not have a love for God because of what's happened to them. You can understand why they feel the way they do."
The Christian foundation of the Ranch is important to the Kruegers, and they feel blessed to support a ministry that introduces children to a loving God.
"During our visit, we saw such support for the children. I think that's what it's all about—being able to meet the needs of the residents, and show them what God is doing for them through the people helping them. That's something that will stick with them forever."
Over the years, George has become a champion for the Ranch. Every month, he pulls a story from Ranch Voice, condenses it, and submits it for inclusion in the weekly church bulletin. He is passionate about keeping his fellow congregants aware of and committed to making a difference for kids at the Ranch.
In addition to the support of the Fargo building project, the Kruegers support the Ranch Horse and Spiritual Life programs; and provide winter coats and hats for kids through the Christmas catalog they receive from the Ranch each October. They also, along with friends Roland and Mary Webb, hold Honey Sunday events at their church. Last fall, their Honey Sunday raised $1,129 to provide for the spiritual needs of Ranch kids.
George is not shy about his support of the kids at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, and he encourages his fellow worshippers to join him. George was talking about the Ranch at a recent Men's Club meeting at his church, when one of the other men took all the money out of his wallet, placed it on the table, and challenged everyone to match it. They collected $160 on the spot to support kids at the Ranch!
Through their giving and support of the Ranch, George and Eleanor not only provide hope and healing for hurting children, but they encourage others around them to do the same.
1 John 4:16 tells us "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."
George and Eleanor live the truth of these words.
Read more stories like this and explore other issues of Ranch Voice here.