The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jul. 2, 2022

Trinity UM provides 200 coats for project

VW independent/submitted information

Four years ago, Brent Stevens and Hope Wallace started the “Warm Up the Ridge” coat drive to benefit Oglala and Lakota Sioux living on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Oglala and Lakota Sioux are an impoverished group of Native Americans living on the brutal high plains near the Badlands in southwest North Dakota.

In 1934, at the ripe old age of 16, Van Wert native David Humphreys Miller went to North Dakota as a teenager with $100 in his pocket to document the Pine Ridge story. While there, Miller learned their language and painted portraits of the survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn; many of these paintings are currently on display at Wassenberg Art Center in Van Wert.

Shown with more than 200 coats are (kneeling, from the left) Trinity United Methodist Missions Chair Mary Collins and Trinity UM Senior Pastor Kurt Tomlinson; (standing) Van Wert County Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger and Larry Webb. photo provided

Learning of this connection, Stevens and Wallace began collecting coats for those living on the Pine Ridge Reservation today. Now in its fourth year, the “Warm Up the Ridge” program continues to receive collections of coats and money that can be dropped off at Wassenberg Art Center

This year, the need is as large as ever. Upon learning of this project, the people of Trinity United Methodist Church in Van Wert began collecting coats. They believed, when their collection started in April, that they may be able to come up with 100 coats. When the coat drive finally ended in December, 222 coats were collected and added to those donated directly to Wassenberg for a grand total of more than 400.

The coats, as well as hats, scarves, and other cold weather gear, will soon be headed to North Dakota to keep Pine Ridge residents nice and warm in the harsh winter.


POSTED: 12/27/18 at 8:35 am. FILED UNDER: News