Connecting Veterans to Water: an update on our water connections

For more than two years, we have been connecting households to the main water service line to provide access to safe, clean water.

As of this month, about three dozen families, consisting of roughly 200 children, adults, and elders, no longer need to walk to a neighbor’s house or drive miles to fetch water.

Just last week, we started the process of connecting a waterline for a Diné (Navajo) Vietnam War era veteran, who had been without running water for 35 years.

Running Strong is now taking our water connection project to the next level.

In early November, we started a pilot program to provide septic systems to families who have indoor plumbing. This will enable them to turn on the tap inside their kitchen and use their bathrooms.

Edwin and Karen Brewer became the first Pine Ridge residents to have a a Running Strong septic system installation started at their home. Edwin, who served our country with distinction in the Vietnam War, and his wife, are both in their 60s. They live in the small community of Porcupine where they are elders. They had been on the tribal waiting list for seven years and had to travel a mile to a relative’s home to fetch water.

The Brewers had indoor plumbing, but they could not use it without a septic system. Soon, because of supporters like you, they will be able to turn on a kitchen tap and actually use their bathroom!

Future Plans. 

A family living nearby is next on the list for a septic system, and a third household in the area is also in line for a water line connection.

“It takes a little planning so we don’t end up paying too much in mobilization costs,” says Running Strong field staffer Ken Lone Elk. “With just these three houses, we cover 10 miles moving one way!”

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