Reference letters about Skyland Ranch

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PO Box 550
43100 Reiter Road
Gold Bar, WA 98251

David R Pitkin J.D.

Ranch Operations
Christine Pitkin

Counseling Services
Bill Kohlmeyer, M.S.W., C.D.S.

Douglas McKay, BS MBA

Horse Operations
K.C. Letterman

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What follows are testimonials from residents, parents and referral sources.

Dear Dave,


It has been almost two years since I met you at the airport in Seattle. I was tired, saddened, lost and totally broken. The only thing I had was hope in a dream that someday I would be able to live a life drug free and without dependence upon alcohol to live.

Well, I must say that because of your dream at the Ranch you made my dream come true and hope that you gave me saved my life and gave my children a whole new outlook on life.

Since leaving the Ranch and returning to South Carolina every day gets a little better. I was recently asked by the Citadel to speak to the entire Senior class about my experience and the Ranch is a big part of it. Drugs and alcohol had me imprisoned spiritually, physically and emotionally. You and your dream rescued me and I am forever grateful to you Dave. Your are always in a special place in my heart.

What follows is my gratitude list.

  1. My son and daughter live with me since June of 2008. When I came to the ranch I was doubtful that I would even be given visitation.
  2. Drug and alcohol free since Dec 20th 2007.
  3. Taught my son and daughter how to enjoy life. They have straight A's and are so happy.
  4. Mended relationships with ex-wife. Now we are friendly and helpful to each other.
  5. Started my own successful pressure washing business.
  6. I am driving my kids to Massachusetts on Saturday to see my Mom and the rest of family. First time since I don't know how long.
  7. My health is great.
  8. I have a new beautiful condominium on a golf course.
  9. I have been reinstated to the practice of law.

John D J.D.

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Dear Dave,

I wanted to send you a letter to express my appreciation for all you are doing for Ben and the other men at your ranch. Because of Ben's journey into and nor out of drugs and alcohol, I have had the opportunity to see a part of life no parent would ever wish to know. But, the experience has been an opportunity for me to meet young and older men who have met this awful disease and beaten it. And it has brought me into contact with many caregivers, therapists, and councilors. Amazingly to me, I have found people in both groups (though strangely, much more frequently among the recovering addicts) who are people of goodness and quality that I rarely meet anywhere else in life.

You and your ranch in particular have been a gift from God to these struggling men, especially my son. Since coming there, he was immediately accepted as someone who was to be trusted until proven otherwise, and he was accepted as a member of the fraternity of men struggling there and elsewhere to maintain sobriety and learn life skills so that they can go on and not just survive, but have hope that they can even thrive.

I had the opportunity to speak to a number of the residents there. They were all impressive and spiritual and open men. They all had a serious intensity about them that I have seen in other men who are in recovery….

It has been an unexpected privilege for me to meet and begin to know people like you and others. In your case, you have made it your life's new work to create and environment where these men can feel nurtured, supported, and enabled. It is with the profoundest sense of gratitude that I can say nothing more than, thank you.

Duncan Steel

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Dear Puff and Pa;

Words cannot express our gratitude for what you are doing at the ranch. We enjoyed our visit tremendously and came back with the knowledge that Parker is in the right place. The joy on his face when he is riding his horse was the best gift I could have gotten. I can't remember when was the last time he had fun. The pride he has in himself for chopping that wood - another feeling he hasn't known in quite awhile. He finally knows what the word "respect" means. He respects you, us, and himself. We had the chance to get reacquainted with our son and we really like who he has become.

I would highly recommend Skyland Ranch. For the last eight years, Parker had been slowly losing his battle with drug and alcohol addiction. We had tried changing schools, going to counselors, psychiatrists and residential programs ( the longest one was 90 days). He was on a path of self-destruction. Thanks to a good friend, we found "the Ranch". This was a pretty drastic step considering we live in Virginia but we had run out of options. It has been the answer to our prayers.

Susan and Steve

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To whom it may concern:

I am writing this letter to tell of my experience at Skyland ranch. I was born and raised in New York City. I am a product of upwardly mobile parents, college educated, and a financial consultant by profession. I write this to give a background of myself not to differentiate myself in terms of my addiction. The truth after years of a life of excess, including money, traveling, spending, and women. I found myself with an addiction that eventually consumed my life in every manner .I went from high finance to just being high 24 hours a day on crack cocaine, walking away from family, relationship, business, and everything of substance in my life.

I came to Skyland in absolute desperation, with the only expectation that if I was away from society for long enough maybe I have a chance. My experience at the ranch was so different than anything that I have experienced in my life. Remember I'm a N.Y.C. stockbroker, who grew up with an urban lifestyle. A ranch, horses, mountains, and working outside of the office was completely foreign for me.

The ranch allowed me the time for me. I have been to treatment 5 times prior always racing out the door, and in a hurry to repair my life. The slowed down pace of the ranch, coupled with the country life which was not about what you have, but more about allowing you to be the person you are was the medicine that I needed. In addition to my surprise I fell in love with the horses. I have become the last great New York Cowboy, in fact I am still an avid rider, and plan on buying my own horse in the near future.

I have long since left the ranch, and celebrating my 15 month of sobriety. I am enjoying life, and living as a free man once again. I have remained in Seattle, and visit the ranch often. When I visit It's like coming home, I have a connection with my family at the ranch that will never be broken. Dave and Puff have kept an open door policy allowing me to visit, ride, or spend the weekend. The Pitkin's have let me know that I'm family and that there's always a place I can call home.

Sincerely Adam M

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Hello: I am an alcoholic/addict. Before coming to the ranch I didn't care about other's feelings. I didn't care about what happened to my life. I have been here for seven months. In these months I have found peace within myself. The ranch is a beautiful place, and is very dear to me. Here a person has the time and serenity to think about his past life and how he really wants his life to turn out. You learn to respect yourself and others.

The owners, counselors and staff here are all understanding people. They are trustworthy people who a person can talk to about any problem and not wonder what they think of you.

I have been to five other treatment facilities. The ranch is the only one that has helped me get rid of the desire to drink. If you, or someone you know, has a chemical dependency problem, this is the place which can help, as far as I'm concerned. I have grown too be a part of this place and call it home.

Thanks for your time. TOM N.

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Dear David & Christine Pitkin;
Thank you is not adequate to express our appreciation of all you have helped our son do for himself. He is healthier in mind, body and spirit than ever before. We were so happy upon our recent visit to the ranch to see how much Charlie has matured in 7months at the ranch. We saw so many positive changes including improvements in self-confidence, honesty with self and with us, willingness to ask questions, taking initiative, acting responsibly, reading books (instead of video games), expressing gratitude instead of resentment, wanting to challenge and apply himself. He demonstrated that he has the tools to respond constructively and to control his anger.

The loving and respectful way Charlie and the other residents speak of Pa and Puff reflects the safe environment you provide on the ranch which fosters mutual accountability and growth. It is not over-dramatic to say you have helped him save his life because he was previously bent on a path of self-destruction. The last time we saw Charlie we had to shout through a pencil size hole of the jail visitation stall, so you can imagine our joy to have him lead us confidently on a horseback ride and instruct us on the workings of a ranch….

We have peace knowing Charlie is on the right track. We are full of hope as he continues building on his success. We pray for the ongoing success of your work. We know Charlie is only one of many who have gotten off track but once turned around will be stronger for it. Sincerely,


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Dear Dave and Chris:
Thanks so much for your hospitality during our recent reunion visit with Justin. His maturity, honesty and intelligence as a young man continue to emerge from the boy you intercepted two years ago.

We were at our wits end searching for a solution. What could possibly provoke this great kid toward self-destruction? We had tried everything… all the clinical alternatives, but nothing worked. And there just weren't any programs appropriate for guys in their late teens or twenties.

Thank goodness we found Skyland Ranch on the internet. You literally saved our son's life and we will be forever thankful to you. Warmest regards.


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Mr. And Mrs. Pitkin:
Thank you for your guidance and support for my brother. He is very special to me, and I know he has a lot of love and respect for you. You are a gift to Tommy and our family.


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Dear Dave & Puff:
Steve is so terrific now - he has been at home since last summer and is perfect! He starts college at Ferris State in Michigan and will study horticulture. You did a wonderful job helping us out. Thanks.


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Dear Dave and Christine:
It's been a year. My son Chris is still in Samoa. He is truly doing well, growing and liking who he is, discovering that he is far more than his limited adolescent image of useless. His grades reflect his commitment to learning (As & Bs) and he's writing about his excitement with the world of books!! (shock!) Can't read enough! He's also (most importantly) developed (developing) his inner self. Thank you for the most important role you played in his life.


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To Whom It May Concern:
We are Educational Consultants who work with and place students in special needs programs, boarding schools and colleges throughout the country. Our relationship with Mr. David Pitkin and the Skyland Ranch has been long-standing and very successful for the young men we have placed there.

When we have students who need an emotional growth program where they can improve their interpersonal relationships, learn responsibility, develop good work habits, and continue with their education, we look to a facility such as Skyland Ranch. Mr. Pitkin's practical assignment of duties, solid support for emotionally needy young men, and the Ranch's strong family atmosphere greatly enhance his ability to provide the good care we have seen the young men receive. We have always felt that our clients were receiving appropriate care, a solid education, and the support necessary to maintain clean and sober lives.

Sincerely, MARTHA MOSES, Educational Consultant

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Dear Dave and Chris:
I am sending my heartfelt thanks to both of you!! Before Bill came to you, we had tried short-term hospitalizations for his depression, alcohol and drug problems, school truancy and family problems. He was in Parkside as a resident for three months and came home and relapsed. We tried various school programs, behavior disorder, alternative schools, individual counseling and family therapy. Bill also had to serve community service hours for curfew and for possession of alcohol as a minor.

The psychologist we were seeing at the time sent me to an educational consultant who in turn referred me to a few residential treatment programs in the U.S. - she highly recommended Skyland Ranch.

All the times I spoke with you and the information you sent me helped me to make the decision to send Bill to your ranch. Bill even chose the ranch over all the other programs. Sending Bill to you, over 2000 miles away from home, was a very difficult thing to do, to entrust him in your care. It was the best thing we could have done for him.

I strong believe the program you have at the ranch has made the difference for Bill being able to make the transition to a life at home again.

I, as well as other family members, see Bill having more self-esteem, wanting to succeed in school. Learning about the AA 12 Steps Program ad the ranch, being away from home and "old friend's" influence and being exposed to a different environment has helped him grow.

He has had the opportunity to participate in many good and positive life-learning experiences that I could never have provided for him. I am truly grateful to you and hold the deepest regard for the commitment you have for these kids.

We were all at our lowest point, not knowing which way to turn with Bill. Now we have so much to look forward to!

Thank you again, you will always have a special place in our thoughts. Sincerely, YVONNE ZASTROW

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Dear Dave and Puff:
As I said on the phone, we are more than pleased with Jason's attitude and behavior and notice a tremendous change for the better. (Jason visited home for Christmas)… You folks have done wonders for Jason - wonderful role models and the beauty of the persons you are are rubbing off on him. There is no way we can ever thank you enough for that.

MIGNON SCHERER (Mrs. Scherer is a family counselor, licensed in California, in her own right who visited the ranch many times during Jason's stay.)

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David & Puff:
It's been a long while. Thought that I'de just drop you a line and give you our news in a nutshell. After three years at the College of Hawaii, Charles (a former resident) was accepted into the Howe School of Business at Barkley University. How very proud we are of his accomplishments for himself! He still attends AA and has a number of sponsees; so, for the time being, he remains on track and is elated with the university life and the challenges that he faces.

Aloha from us both, Richard and Margaret

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