The Abbott House 75th Anniversary Celebration also features Olympic Gold Medalist and native South Dakotan Billy Mills and Abbott House alumni and girls. Tickets are $10 or $45 can be purchased by calling 605-996-2486. Mills will share his story of beating the odds and becoming a success despite being orphaned when he was 12 years old. Mills is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of his Olympic Gold Medal run in 2014 as well.
Mills was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Although Pine Ridge is very rich in culture and spirit, it is continually recognized economically as one of the poorest communities in America with unemployment reaching 80%.
After being orphaned, Mills was sent to boarding schools and graduated high school at Haskell Indian School. He became involved in distance running and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Kansas. Never winning a major race in track and field or cross country, Mills continued to show promise by his performances, making All American seven times. Upon graduation from the University of Kansas, Mills was commissioned an officer in the United States Marine Corps., and continued training for the Olympic Team. He made the Olympic team in two events, the marathon and the 10,000 meter run. He had trained his body, mind and soul for “Peak Performance.” And the world was about to see the greatest upset in Olympic history unfold when he won the Olympic Gold Medal in 10,000 meters in the 1964 Olympics.