Our Story

About us

L.U.C. Ranch was founded by Ken and Sheila Ortman in 1982 with the premise that because God created each person with a purpose, each boy who comes to the Ranch is worth saving and can develop to his full potential with God's help.

The Ranch began with a vision to make it possible for troubled boys to have a second chance at life by changing their behavior patterns. We believe that this begins by demonstrating God’s love to them through words and actions. Success in boys’ lives at the Ranch is based on two basic principles: that God can change lives in miraculous ways, and that good work habits are important for building character, self-esteem, and self-discipline. Accomplishments at the Ranch are due to the staff and Ranch friends who have joined us by giving of their time, talents, funds and are praying for us. 


The Ortman's Arrived in 1982

One double wide mobile home was donated which would help provide the needed space for boys to live with the Ortmans. This mobile home had animals living it previously and had been vandalized and so much repair was needed.  Our Board Chairman, Charles Staake, would help with any project and encouraged others to pitch in their efforts until more help arrived.  The first group to come to the aid of the Ranch, were the Roving Volunteers IChrist’s Service (RVICS).  The weather was cold but not the hearts of Christian friends.   The Lord brought one man, Carlin Pruitt from Pittsburg, Kansas to offer his help.   His spark developed into a blaze of LOVE, bringing others from his church to get involved.  Elijah Touchton was one of those from Pittsburg that began his involvement by providing the materials for the furnace in the double wide trailer home, and soon found himself coming to monthly Board meetings

What was it like for the Ortman's?

“All of our needs were dependent on those friends that the Lord had placed in our pathway.  Our hearts were burdened to help more boys, but the funds and materials were scarce.   After many years of seeking funds to build a dorm, the Lord let the Ranch in a faith building process.   We felt the urging of the Spirit to start building and followed the voice within us to rely on Him to supply our needs.  The foundation and outside structure were built through volunteer efforts with the funds that had come in as needed.  When it was time to put in the windows, a phone call came to us inquiring if we were building the dorm that was written about in the Springfield paper a year ago.   When we indicated that we were just getting ready to purchase the windows, the man on the phone, Clarence McElroy of Midwest Aluminum Windows in Springfield informed us that was the reason he was calling because he wanted to help in that way.  Later, we discovered that he was donating all of the windows needed to complete the dorm.  He still continues to be our window Angel!  Soon our resources were about depleted and again the Lord sent some that special person to inquire about the completion of the dorm.   Later, we found that this lady was acting on behalf of a wonderful group of Christian people from Branson, The Herschends.  With the financial aid of one of those families, we were able to complete the dorm.  The other family donated almost the entire kitchen cabinets and appliances, which are still in place. The dorm was completed early in 1989, which had capacity for 3 families and 16 boys.” “With the generous gifts of many wonderful people and the abilities of many volunteers, progress continues.  We appreciate the love from everyone who has given of themselves to help in some way; however, when people continue to help over and over and over, they become very special to us.  Besides those already mentioned, who put in countless hours of volunteer labor are: special  friends from the Marion – Freeman area of South Dakota who were among the first to help and continue to bless us with their generosity;  people from the organizations of RVICS, MMAP, SOWERS;   students from the College of the Ozarks; friends from the Presbyterian church of Shell Knob, Methodist, Lutheran, and First Baptist churches of Kimberling City, Blue Eye United Methodist Church, various individuals and other youth groups from around the United States.  These various groups from this area helped with construction of animal barns, work shop, the dorm, the work job equipment barn, the dairy barn, the Mechanics shop, the tri-plex, the Manse, the Counseling offices and apartments, plus numerous other outside projects.  We have come to know Merlin Menah as the expert and provider of inside house trim and doors.  After many years of various maintenance types of jobs, Merle Oelson has undertaken being the supervisor for the construction of the Academic Center”

“To help balance our program, a special young man, Jim Herschend took on the challenge of providing a wonderful adventure for the boys each month, with no expense to LUC.  He has gathered together many friends, and family members to assist him, to provide their expertise and services, and to support him in making life more enjoyable for the boys who struggle with the changes that need to be made in their lives while at LUC.  Rick Hughlet assists Jim and helps out in his absences.  These adventures include things that many of these boys had not nor probably will experience after leaving LUC, such as repelling, canoe trips, cave explorations, flying, scuba diving, exploring SDC, water and snow skiing, and some more common ones such as seeing movies, barn swings, hiking, horseback riding, camping, etc.”

“We find ourselves grateful to the many who have and continue to give of their means and talents to make the ministry at LUC a success in helping at-risk boys.   I know there are many that I have failed to mention but they are not forgotten in our hearts and in the work that has been done for the Lord’s glory.  These are only examples of the ways in which you might want to become involved with the LUC Ranch.   We look forward to gaining new friends who have these and other talents to share.’


“All of the work going on at the Ranch would not be possible without the financial support of caring people.  Even though those above have been mentioned for their years of service to the Ranch, we believe that sometimes those who give the most are those who are not recognized and give from the little that they have such as is illustrated by the widow in the Bible who gave all that she had.  We, therefore do not like to diminish the gift or the giver by the size of gift they give but honor them also for helping us in any way possible as we say: “Thank you to All of you for being found faithful!”