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'Community Hero' receives free heating upgrade

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EAST GRAND FORKS—While many get their furnaces fixed a nonprofit was given a much needed and much deserved heating upgrade.

The Stable Days Youth Ranch provides a welcoming and warm environment for hundreds of kids, something close to Caryl and Ben Lester after adopting their niece who has special needs.

"We wanted to create a program where parents and or social workers, foster parents would have easy access to something that would be beneficial," said Caryl Lester, Owner.

That's why they started this horse-inspired non-profit just a few years ago, they spruced up abandoned land, bringing boys and girls out to the farm and into their home.

"For the first time in their life they're maybe put into a situation where they can be a leader and have new challenges and experiences where they're not totally comfortable or confident but they can see that they can do it," said Ben Lester, Owner.

Until Friday, that mission was on hold during the cold snap as they struggled to feel warm and comfortable.

"We installed a furnace for a community hero, somebody who goes out, goes over and above what the normal person does in their household day to day life," said Darell Wockenfuss, Service Manager.

McFarlane installed a brand new furnace in their home, free of charge; a heartwarming gesture for people who put others needs before their own.

"When we bought the place there's just been so much work needed on the house here, formally the restaurant but also the program area that we have for stable days and so we put a lot of our attention in those areas to keep that moving forward," said Ben.

Now they can move forward even more, helping more and more kids, no matter how cold it gets.

The Stable Days Youth Ranch program is open for most of the year.

In the future, the couple would like to build an indoor facility for the winter season.