House of Hope

Amber Poulson

No one wants to deal with tragedy. But the fact is, it happens whether you are prepared for it or not. A Bismarck man is turning his tragedy into hope for others who are dealing with the pain of watching a loved one suffer.

The renovation on Tracy’s Sanctuary House is underway. It’s a dream a year in the making. In August of 2004 Bruce Rittel and his family had to deal with the loss of their loving wife and mother who was killed in a car accident near Fargo. He said it was hard to find a place to grieve in private.

Rittel says, “after it was all said and done they sent us to a hotel. You know a small little itty bitty room and everybody had to crowd in. You got three hours of sleep probably. You paid regular hotel rate.”
Rittel wanted to create a place where families who are dealing with tragedy can go to be in private. He wanted this place to feel like home so the families could cry together and embrace each other in their time of need. He wanted to do it for Tracy.

Rittel says, “it’s a healing process for both myself and my family, but also for the people that we help. I think it’s going to be really important for me to be here with the first family that comes in here. Just to give them some peace and maybe a hug and let them know, hey you can cry and you can be here and there is somebody that cares.”

Tracy’s parents have been helping Rittel fix up the house. They say they enjoy the work because it’s for Tracy.

Donald Arndt says, “it gives you closure in a way. You know Tracy ain’t gonna be around anymore and this is one way that Tracy will be around with us. This is her house. When we come here we’re coming into her house is the way I feel.”

So their healing process is helped by knowing that the work they do is helping others going who are going through the same thing.


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