SYSK: "Dream Project" keeps retreat house operational - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: "Dream Project" keeps retreat house operational


One weekend a year, volunteers meet at the American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls. It's all part of the Dream Project started about five years ago by Dan Rigel.

"I called it the Dream Project because we were dreaming how much we can do," said Dan Rigel.

Rigel came up with the idea after he was at the house for a spiritual retreat.

"I saw all the cracks and decided I'd so something about it," he said.

Rigel's background is in maintenance, and he knew helping with the upkeep of the house was something he could do to give back.

"When Dan came up with this project we thought it was a good idea, so we went ahead with it and it's done marvels for maintenance and upkeep," said former American Martyr House Retreat Director Sister Jeanine Kuhn.

This year, volunteers are working on an apartment for a new spiritual director at the retreat house and doing some landscaping.

Each year, the volunteers keep showing up to help.

"He's brought people here to work or people have come out to work that maybe wouldn't have come out here," said Sister Kuhn.

"It's usually around July, so it's hot. No air in the rooms at the house. People are willing to come out no matter what," said Rigel.

Dan Rigel said besides the volunteers it's donations that keep the Dream Project going.

"The first donation really opened the door for us because it was a $10,000 donation," said Rigel.

Without the Dream Project, it would be much more difficult to afford the labor and supplies to maintain the retreat house.

But as Dan Rigel himself learned, the Dream Project is about more than manual labor.

"I was at first focused on what needed to be fixed, but by the end of the first retreat it was more about the people," he said.

The people who now make this weekend an annual tradition of repairs and prayers.

For more information on the American Martyrs Retreat House or to make a donation to the Dream Project, you can all 319-266-3543.

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