Old TV puppet seeks to bring peace to veterans
A local re-creation of an old-time children’s TV show will attempt to raise money for an ambitious project to establish a rural retreat for veterans.
Local performers re-creating the role of Santa and puppet sidekick Toy Boy from 1960s through ’80s KAKE-TV “Santa’s Workshop” show will greet visitors from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Marion County Hardware.
Their appearance is part of a just-beginning fund-raising effort led by Marion resident Scott Pracht.
Families can bring children and take photos with Santa and Toy Boy while learning about Pracht’s Hallowed Lake project.
Pracht, founder and president of Hallowed Lake, is looking for donations to develop a 100-acre lake with 10 cabins around it on a section of land in either Chase or Greenwood County.
The retreat will be for veterans, family members, and friends to escape the stress of returning from service and enjoy nature in a peaceful setting.
“Ten cabins will do it for the state of Kansas,” Pracht said. “Basically we don’t want to put too many cabins around. We want a peaceful time, whether it’s a weekend or a week.”
Pracht said such a retreat would have helped him when he left the Army six years ago after years working in long-range surveillance.
“When I got out of the Army, there was no place to go fish or hunt,” he said. “Everyone was leasing their land to the East Coast. Veterans need a place to relax, especially when they’ve just come back from war.”
Pracht moved to Marion six years ago and for the first two years, he said, no one knew he was there.
Veterans also need a place like Hallowed Lake to show them they are important, he said.
Hallowed Lake also could be used by first responders and police.
Similar retreats have been developed in other areas, Pracht said.
He wants the resort to be free for veterans.
He hopes to raise $5.8 million for the project.
“We’d love to have $10 million,” Pracht said.
That would sustain the retreat years into the future.
“It’s important to me that we stop these 22 veteran suicides a day that we’ve got going on right now,” Pracht said. “We can’t let that happen. It’s got to be controlled. There are a lot of people talking about it, but they’re doing nothing. Hallowed Lake is to address that.”
Hallowed Lake is a 501(c)3 organization. His website is http://hallowedlake.org.
Last modified Nov. 25, 2021