After the tragic death of their son, a Wyoming couple found the strength to go on — and found a way to help others in the process.

By Marlene Lenthang
December 09, 2016 03:17 PM
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Episode 4 of AMERICAN DOERS, a new 12-part video series featuring original thinkers, innovators, craftspeople, risk-takers and artisans across the United States.

After the tragic death of their son, a Wyoming couple found the strength to go on — and found a way to help others in the process.

Tim and Debbie Bishop first met at a guest dude ranch in college. And they bonded over their dream to one day own a ranch of their own.

They were overjoyed to welcome a son in 1985. But Trenton, who was born with special needs, died at 8 months old.

“You never fully get over it,” Tim tells PEOPLE. “I still tear up.”

The couple relied on each other for support during the difficult time. “Whenever comes in life, you can get through it,” Debbie says.

The couple went on to achieve their dream of opening a ranch, purchasing the Medicine Bow Lodge on Nov. 1, 2002. The resort, complete with horseback riding, fishing and hiking, is nestled within the Snowy Range Mountains of Saratoga, Wyoming.

Credit: Happy Marshall Productions

“It’s a place where people can get away,” Tim says. “We want people when they leave here to be better off than when they got here.”

But their dream didn’t come without its challenges. They almost had to close the ranch due to the financial crisis of 2008. And just one year later, on Dec. 9, 2009, they almost lost everything in a fire.

For more American Doers, go to americandoers.people.com.

“I put a pair of jeans, pair of rubber boots and a trench coat on. I was trying to fight the fire,” Jim says. “When they got me in the ambulance my body temperature was 94 degrees. I was in a state of shock.

Despite the loss, they continued to grow stronger together.

“We did lose everything in terms of material things,” Debbie says. “We still have each other, but it was a close call with this man.”

The couple says despite the emotional and physical challenges thrown their way, they wouldn’t do anything differently.

“If I took [the bad] back, then the good things that happened as a result wouldn’t be here,” says Jim. “Right now, I’m having a good time.”

The couple says they’ve learned that perseverance is the key to contentment.

“You don’t give up. There’s just a grit that we’re given to keep going,” says Debbie.