Active… that is one word that describes Darrell Hallman.
At 16 years of age, Darrell came to live at McCrossan Boys Ranch. Not long after arriving in 1984, he was given the opportunity to be one of the first residents to live in the Ranch’s newly-opened Independent Living program. “McCrossan’s said they were going to try a new program to help kids learn to become independent; and I was going to be one of the first four boys to give it a try,” says Hallman.
Along with his brothers and sisters, Hallman was removed from his home because family counselors recognized the children needed to live in different environments for a period of time. The Department of Social Services placed Darrell at the Ranch.
During his time at McCrossan’s, Darrell embraced the many opportunities to become actively involved in the various offerings. Sports activities had been and continued to be his passion. As a ranch resident, Darrell was enrolled in public school at Tri-Valley. He was an active participant in football, wrestling, and track. In addition to being captain of the football team and wrestling squad, Darrell also earned several medals, trophies, and awards for his athletic accomplishments. Academically, Darrell graduated in the top 10% of his class.
It wasn’t all just sports and school either. Darrell was also an active member of First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls and assisted with the McCrossan Hitch at appearances and parades throughout this region. “The Ranch helped change my life because I got the opportunity to be active. I also learned that there were many kids who were less fortunate than me,” says Darrell.
Darrell says his time at McCrossan brought many positive people into his life. He not only formed positive relationships with his teammates but also their families…especially Tim Oyen and his family. “Tim’s mom was always taking pictures of us during games and matches. She kept Kodak in business.” Darrell noted that the staff at the Ranch viewed their work as much more than a job; they viewed it as an opportunity. “So many staff made a difference in our lives regardless of their job title. Some of them welcomed us into their homes on weekends. The Woltjer family even hosted a graduation party for me at their home so I could experience what every other graduating high schooler was experiencing that day.” Darrell says, “you will become like who you are around so pick the right people.”
After living at the Ranch for two years, Darrell graduated from Tri-Valley High School in 1986. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics with a minor in History from South Dakota State University. Now 51 years old, Darrell is Manager at a farm implement dealership in Mitchell, SD, where he has worked for almost 20 years. He also enjoys doing a little farming on the side. Darrell has had his hands full for the past 16 years with his triplet boys – Tanner, Thailan and Tyson who, incidentally, are his pride and joy. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with the boys, watching them participate in their extra-curricular activities, and fishing.
Darrell has some advice for the boys who currently have the opportunity to benefit from an experience at the Ranch. “This is just a short time in your life, and it is such an important time. You can make mistakes at this age and still correct them. Don’t let this reflect what you are gonna be.”
Thank you Darrell for sharing your story with us! We are so proud of all you have accomplished. If you are an alumni or know someone who is and would like to share your story contact the McCrossan Development Office at (605) 339-1203.