Spearfish man’s wish comes true with trip to Medora

One of Harold Schafer’s dreams was to make Medora affordable to ALL families, and on Friday the founder’s ‘Wish’ came true, along with someone else’s.

Forty seven year – old John Wright of Spearfish, SD became the first recipient of the Medora Wish Endowment.

Wright was notified of it in the Spring when his caretaker Louise Bauernfeind was looking for trips online that were within his price budget.

Wright has suffered from seizures his entire life and can only communicate through gestures.

“Getting disability. . . they have to save money for quite a long time to afford a vacation or trip they would enjoy, ” said Bauernfeind. 

Back in April Bauernfeind said Wrights face lit up when he saw pictures of Medora online, and she later contacted Joslyn Tooz at Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation to see if they had packages for people with disabilities, but Tooz had something even better.

“We just had a long conversation, and I said you know what we have a brand new program that might fit this really well, ” said Tooz. 

As the recipient of the Medora Wish Endowment, Wright and his caretaker get to spend a fun filled entertainment weekend in Medora at no expense, and one of the highlights of his trip was when he got to see the Medora Musical on Friday night and meet members of the cast.

“He loves music. Loves music. . .  the show (was) amazing for him, ” said Bauernfeind.

The endowment was created by the incredible generosity of two families: Don and Pat Clement, along with Michael and Vicki Zaun.

Tooz said the endowment has two objectives: one is to help fund free activities for kids, and the other is to sponsor “inspirational trips” for people with disabilities or limitations.

Don Clement who was at the Medora Musical on Friday night with has family had a chance to meet Wright and Bauernfeind before the show and talk to them.

Clement said it is great to see Schafer’s vision now becoming a reality with Wright.

“It’s important that we finds way to provide affordable experiences to all families”. 

Bauenfiend said that she and Wright are incredibly thankful for everyone’s generosity, and one of the first things they are going to do when they return home is share their trip with their friends. 

“We are going to make a big video slide show to show all our friends”. 

Tooz said at this time they will probably only be sponsoring one “inspirational trip” a year, but as the fund grows they would like to offer multiple trips. 

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