December 05, 2016
For the second #MountainMonday in a row we would like to feature our “Meet the Crew Series” with another long-time Crew Member. This introduction is special in that we are including a heartfelt thank you as this carver is retiring after nearly 26 years partaking in the Dream. We hope you enjoy a glimpse at the life of Mountain Crew Member Duane S.
Duane began his journey with Crazy Horse in Aprilof 1991. He had prior experience as a driller and blaster working for Pacer as well as being involved in preparing the area to rebuild the highway between Keystone and Mt. Rushmore.
The first of Duane’s work on the Mountain was helping to remove another 17 feet of rock from Crazy Horse’s outstretched Arm. He explained the process involving vertical and horizontal drilling somewhat like present day, but also having the ability to blast because of the distance they were from finish grade. Duane recalls using a labor-intensive crank hand drill holding a jackhammer for drilling horizontal toe holes and equipment such as the Leroy track drill to create vertical holes.
Drilling and blasting were a favorite part of the job for Duane. He enjoyed being a member of ISEE (International Society of Explosives Engineers), attending annual seminars and learning about the newest techniques and technologies in the industry.
Duane has many memories of working at Crazy Horse, mostly good times he said recalling fighting the elements being the worst of it. With many to choose from he stated “One of my fondest memories was meeting Mrs. Z…and my family getting to know the Ziolkowski family personally.”
Being part of a truly unique undertaking, Duane shared that he would like it if people knew “how big the project is…and what it’s taken to get it this far and what it’s going to take to complete it. It’s no easy task.” He explained.
Duane doesn’t have any firm retirement plans yet. However, he enjoys leisure activities that include hunting, fishing and camping right here in the Black Hills he calls home.
Duane shared the fact that after 2 ½ decades, he is retiring - unable to physically carry on with the requirements of his position on the Mountain Crew. We are grateful for Duane’s many years of service on the Mountain and for his dedication in carrying on the Dream.