MARION — A Marion couple is putting in the grueling work of clearing their 47 acres of land to create an oasis for veterans, in honor of their two kids, Kyle and Lily.
"When my son was killed we were notified January 26 of 2012, it broke my heart," said Randall.
He and his wife Mary went through the unimaginable when their son Kyle died while serving the U.S.
But three years later they would go through it again when their youngest daughter passed away.
But now, the Dugans are turning their grief into a safe haven for veterans by creating the Kylily Veterans Ranch and Retreat.
“This is just the most worthy cause I could ever possibly think of,” said Randall.
Although in its early stages, the 47-acre ranch along US Highway 2 past Marion is beginning to prosper.
Randall has been working away by himself cutting down countless trees and clearing areas out to create cabins for vets and their families to stay, to connect with other veterans..
He says it was just what is needed for vets, "I have to do something to help these guys."
In the future, the goal is for veterans to help veterans through teamwork by helping make the ranch an oasis.
“What is set up for here is for families come up here for the weekends and mingle in with the vets and the other families and nit-pick back and forth,” said Al, Randall’s close friend and served 22 years in the US Army.
He has seen the peace and serenity the ranch can offer, "out here I don’t have to worry about. It's wide open and I can see what’s going on and it’s calm."
Randall uses clearing out the acreage of land from trees and brush as a way of coping with his own loss to benefit the veterans who are struggling.
“It's the only thing keeping me alive right now is trying to help these guys out,” he told MTN News.
You can help Randall out right now as the retreat is in need of machines and extra hands to get up and running.
There is no specific timeline for when Kylily will open, but you can call Randall at (406) 217-7467 if you're interested in helping out.