7Everyday Hero Dara Richlie helps residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation

Volunteer has spent 14 years helping others
Posted at 6:41 AM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 08:41:16-05
PINE RIDGE RESERVATION, S.D. -- Five and half hours northeast of Denver is a place that many consider the poorest place in the country. 
Most people have no desire to go there. But 7Everyday Hero Dara Richlie leads a mission of mercy there several times a year. 
The area is in the southwest corner of South Dakota. It is a place where 80 percent of the people live in poverty, and 90 percent of them are unemployed. It is the Pine Ridge Reservation, the home of the Oglala Lakota. 
"If you saw the living conditions up there, you wouldn't know how they survive. A lot of them don't have running water, no electricity, they're freezing, they live in substandard housing," Richlie said. 
Dara Richlie reaches out from Westminster to the people of Pine Ridge. 
"We'll take appliances, clothes, house wares, pots and pans, shoes, food, anything," Richlie said. 
It is an effort she has led for 14 years.
"It is called P.R.A.Y., which stands for Pine Ridge And You," Richlie said. 
Richlie and her volunteers fill up trucks and drive the five-plus hours to Pine Ridge every couple months. 
"I love the people and I think most people who come up with me fall in love with them too," said Richlie. 
Richie has no blood ties to the people of Pine Ridge, but she has made a family-like connection. 
"She becomes very close to the people and a lot of times that is something that they need: Someone to talk to that aren't on the reservation or in the same position," said volunteer Chris Fuchs. 
When Richlie is not at the reservation, she is collecting and organizing items for the next trip. It's a full-time job that she loves. 
"The list of needs is five pages long. This never goes away. Because for every bed we give away, we've got five more people saying:  'Can I have a bed?' Richlie said. "We've been blessed, we've been fortunate, we've been given a lot, and if you see a person in need, why not help them? Nobody has ever gotten poor by giving."
To learn more about Dara Richlie's effort called P.R.A.Y. go to
Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.


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