Vera Fuller has helped bring telephone service to a Ziebach County community, helped identify and restore a pioneer cemetery, fed over 100 men during her farming and ranching years, kept records on a 24,000-acre spread, proposed a change to the United States Mail Service which was accepted and, with her husband, enlarged the Dupree High School library.
In 1958, recognizing the need for local communication, Vera and her husband, Chas., secured surplus army telephone wire from Texas. Chas. and neighboring men strung it across the prairie. Another telephone company at Eagle Butte was changing from crank phones to more modern units, so the newly organized South Redelm Telephone Company bought the old phones and found themselves in business.
Later the Redelm Post Office was closed. Mail was delivered to a row of mailboxes at 9 a.m.—too early for patrons to get there to send out mail, thought Vera. She wrote to Rep. E.Y. Berry with an explanation of the problem and suggested the carrier pick up letters on his way back through Ziebach County. A drop box was installed and is still used today.
The Fuller ranch was located on Red Coat Creek on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. Many Indian workers were among a total of over 100 men hired over the years. One Indian boy came seeking work on his 16th birthday and stayed with them 10 years. They still have many good friends in the reservation community.
In 1950 they established headquarters a mile from the original homestead sites of both sets of parents in the Redelm area. Vera’s parents proved up on their claim in 1912, then moved east to Clay County in 1913. Vera went back “out west” as a rural school teacher in 1925 where she met Chas. who was just back from South Dakota State. They were married at Redelm in 1928.
In 1930 Vera was a member of the Good Will Club, basically a social club for homesteaders’ wives. When Extension came along she helped form the Lucky Star Club which exists today. When Ziebach County officials stopped the financial support for an Extension Home economist, she was among the volunteers who attended lessons given by the College demonstrators in the next county and brought information back to the Ziebach County clubs.
In 1963 the Fullers returned to Clay County, purchasing a farm near Burbank. They continued the Redelm ranching operation until 1969. In 1974 they sold the Burbank farm and they now live on an 80-acre irrigated wheat farm near Spirit Mound.
Chas. and Vera have organized and built up five different ranches and farms, two from scratch. They have remodeled, reorganized and built seven different houses plus three trailer homes. That alone earns Vera the title of “home maker.”
The Fullers are members of senior citizens, Old Settlers, Historical Society, Shrine of Music, Eastern Star, Farm Bureau and other farm organizations. They have donated hundreds of books to the Dupree High School library and initiated a scholarship fund in Dupree to which others now contribute.
Vera credits her community, Extension associates, and friends who nominated and promoted her for this award. Those friendships are her greatest reward for her many years of community service.