Black Hills Works: Providing Mission-Critical Support at Ellsworth Air Force Base

Kyla: Proud Ellsworth Employee

Black Hills Works supports nearly 600 people with disabilities throughout the Rapid City-area. Our care is prioritized around six areas of impact: Home, Community, Workforce, Specialty Services, Arts, and Transportation. The people we support contribute to the unique heritage and character of the Black Hills as our friends, employees, artists, volunteers, neighbors, leaders and artists.

Kyla Plenty Chief is one such person. Black Hills Works provides her with the support she needs to maintain her own apartment, be employed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, and ensures the transportation she needs to get to and from work.

Kyla is one of 50 people with disabilities supported by Black Hills Works who are employed at Ellsworth Air Force base at Raider Café, in the commissary, mail center, and on a janitorial crew. Our Ellsworth workforce is deemed “mission critical” by the United States Air Force. They are part of a civilian support team that ensures that our military personnel are fed, supplied, and enjoy a sanitary environment. They have continued to report to work throughout the COVID-19 threat due to the critical role they play, and in spite of the risks.

Klya is especially proud of her work at the Raider Café at Ellsworth, a job she has had for more than five years. She is responsible for washing pots and pans, janitorial duties and wiping down tables.

“She loves to work. She likes to be here. She says we are her family,” says Carl Dixon, a contract manager who helps oversee the Black Hills Works crew. “Kyla is an excellent employee. She is willing to come in whenever needed. She even volunteers to work holidays. I don’t think she has every said ‘no.’”

The 50 people with disabilities working at Ellsworth represent 10% of the people we support in employment settings, and the transportation to get them to and from Ellsworth represents 8.3% of our total job-related fuel costs, not to mention the cost of the vehicles and the wages for those who drive them. We make this commitment because they love their job and we know our service men and women, and other supporting personnel at Ellsworth really value their contributions to the overall base operations.

Black Hills Works is creating a community where everyone participates to achieve to achieve a life of full potential and were all people are good neighbors, valued friends, productive workers, respected leaders, and caring volunteers. This is certainly happening at Ellsworth Air Force Base, where the people we support who love coming to work and are integral members of the Ellsworth community.

Please consider showing your support for these exceptional workers with a donation to Black Hills Works today. With the Combined Federal Campaign, you can make a one-time donation or a recurring gift through a payroll deduction. Just visit, create an account, search for “Black Hills Works,” CFC# 43934, choose “Add” and then “Checkout.” Your contribution will make a big impact in the lives of people with disabilities in Rapid City, including those providing mission-critical work at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for your service!
Black Hills Works

Charity Name
Black Hills Works, Inc.
Photo Caption
Kyla Plenty Chief is honored as Employee of the Month for her exceptional work and service at the Raider Cafe on Ellsworth Air Force Base.
Photo Credit
Black Hills Works