Showing posts with label Montana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montana. Show all posts

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Free equine therapy to female veterans with PTSD in dire need of support

Financial fallout of COVID-19 hits Montana ranch that helps female veterans fight PTSD

FOX News
By Emily DeCiccio
May 21, 2020
Ledoux and her mother depend on donations to run Serenity Ranch and offer free-of-charge equine therapy to at-risk women. Their dedication comes from their firsthand account of equine therapy when they both experienced loss.

Lisa Ledoux and her mother have been operating Serenity Ranch in Montana since May 2016, providing free equine therapy to female veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other traumas.

The economic fallout of COVID-19, however, has taken a toll on Serenity Ranch and is forcing the horse rescue facility to roll back its critical equine therapy programs and sell nearly 40 acres of land.

“This year, unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be unable to do a female veteran program,” said Ledoux. “We’ll be taking care of the horses, and that's kind of what we've been focusing on more lately since the pandemic started, just because the donations that we were receiving have gone down significantly.”

Ledoux explained to Fox News that it’s just her and her mom taking care of the ranch and the horses. She broke down the high operating costs and noted that a bale of hay, for example, is $120, and the horses go through one bale in about a day-and-a-half.
read it here

The Serenity Ranch’s mission is to assist women with programs designed to create a safe environment to help facilitate a positive relationship with our 42 rescued horses, when battling PTSD, trauma, abuse and the addictions that can result.

Programs will be created for the following :
Female Veterans
Female Spouses of Veterans
Female Law Enforcement Officers
Spouses of Law Enforcement Officers
Grieving Women
Families of Veterans and Law Enforcement Officers
Women Experiencing or Living With Trauma
Abused Women

Each program group will have one thing in common; background. Veterans will be grouped together, as well as Spouses and Law Enforcement Officers. We will not be mixing backgrounds for individual programs!

Our organization is pending non-profit (501c-3) status, but is actively fundraising.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Stolen Valor: Phony Marine hit by $1.7 million judgment

Veteran Duped by Phony Marine Awarded $1.7 Million in Stolen Valor Case
By Patricia Kime
14 May 2020

"The District Court was provided with proof that Mr. Shannon had fabricated many of the newly produced 'Top Secret' redacted documents in his 'VA file' ... and was presented with proof that Mr. Shannon had forged what he claimed was his DD214," an appellee brief to the Montana Supreme Court states.

A man holds an Eagle, Globe and Anchor pin in his hand.
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Timothy Lenzo)

Montana's highest court has upheld a judgment against a Lynchburg, Virginia, man who solicited at least one investor in his business dealings by claiming to have been a U.S. Marine.

The Montana Supreme Court last month upheld a lower court's decision ordering Laron Shannon, formerly of Kalispell, Montana, to pay $1.7 million in damages to Donald Kaltschmidt, of Whitefish. Kaltschmidt, according to the court, gave Shannon $250,000 to invest in a company Shannon said would hire veterans to clean oil rigs in eastern Montana and North Dakota.

But Shannon, who often wore Marine apparel such as caps and knit shirts with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and portrayed himself as a former Marine officer, never served on active duty as a commissioned Marine, according to court documents. When asked early during the court proceedings to produce a DD-214 record of service document, he did not immediately produce it.

read it here

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Man gets 110 years for killing disabled veteran and stealing VA benefits

Montana man gets 110 years for killing disabled veteran

FEBRUARY 28, 2020
“You are barbarians, both of you,” Lori Petzack said to Craft and Zdeb during the sentencing hearing. “My son fought for your freedom and independence for four years in the U.S. Army. He received a frontal lobe traumatic brain injury in Mosul, Iraq, from an IED which fully disabled him for the rest of his life, which you both took away.”
A Montana man who was convicted of killing a disabled veteran in February 2016, burying his body in the dirt floor of a barn and stealing his disability benefits was sentenced on Friday to 110 years in prison.

Brandon Craft, 25, of Great Falls, will not be eligible for parole until he serves 50 years, District Judge Elizabeth Best ruled.

Craft's ex-wife Katelyn Zdeb, 25, pleaded guilty in April 2018 to stealing Adam Petzack's Veterans Affairs benefits for several months after his death. She testified against Craft at his trial in November and was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison with no time suspended.
read it here

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Was WWI veteran Josef Prusek's death suicide or murder?

Suicide or murder? Death of Iowa veteran in Montana in 1921 raised questions

The Gazette
December 31, 2019
“A wound made by a large caliber bullet extended clear through the skull, there were no powder marks and the coroner expressed the opinion that it would have been impossible to have held a heavy revolver far enough away from his head to have left no powder burns. The bruised condition of the man’s knuckles indicated he had been in a fight,” The Gazette reported.
This April 11, 1921, Gazette story was headlined, “Evidence points to murder of Prusek.” One of Joe Prusek’s brothers went to Montana, attempting, without success, to get more details about his brother’s untimely death. (Gazette archives)
Josef Prusek had lived in Cedar Rapids since 1890. He built a two-story family home at 1601 N St. SW, where he died April 24, 1915.

At the time, his daughters Mary, Lillian and Harriet and son Milo lived in Cedar Rapids, but his son Joseph Jr., or “Joe,” had moved to Montana in 1914.

Joe staked a claim near Briley in south-central Montana near Big Timber.

He joined the Army’s 88th Division in 1917 during World War I and went to France. He was assigned to the 77th Division, where he was part of the Lost Battalion that was surrounded by German troops in the Argonne Forest.

The battalion was rescued Oct. 7, 1918, after enduring more than four days without food or water. Attempts to get water to the soldiers were met with sniper fire, so the troops subsisted on leaves. At one point, they were targets of friendly fire until a message delivered by homing pigeon alerted the Allies they were firing on their own.

Having survived that horrendous ordeal, Joe was discharged and returned to his Montana home. That’s where he was when, at age 32, he died from a gunshot wound to his head.

His body was found April 5, 1921, outside his Montana cabin.
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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Civilians punished for pretending to be Veteran's Court

2 men falsely claimed military service to get their cases moved to a veterans court

Associated Press 
August 25, 2019
Before they can be eligible for parole, Pinski ordered both men to hand write the names of all 6,756 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; write out the obituaries of the 40 Montanans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and send hand-written letters of apology to several veterans groups identifying themselves as having lied about military service to receive help and possibly a lesser sentence through a veterans court.
The first Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) was started in 2008 in Buffalo, N.Y. There are 220 operational VTCs in the United States with approximately 11,000 veterans currently participating. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Two Montana men who were sentenced to prison for violating the terms of the probation in separate crimes won’t be eligible for parole until they complete a writing assignment given because they falsely claimed to have served in the military to have their cases moved to a veterans court. Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski sentenced Ryan Patrick Morris, 28, and Troy Allan Nelson, 33, on Friday. Morris got 10 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation for felony burglary, while Nelson got five years on a drug possession conviction. Pinski suspended three years of each defendant’s sentence. read more here

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Montana Veteran attacked teen and blamed Trump?

Army veteran pleads not guilty in assault on teen who failed to remove hat during anthem

He Attacked a Teen He Felt Disrespected the National Anthem. His Lawyer Says He 'Believed He Was Doing What President Trump Wanted'

Police: Montana man assaults boy who kept hat on during anthem

ABC 13 News
by Ida Domingo
August 8th 2019
Officials say the child had blood coming from his ears, a concussion and a fractured skull...
SUPERIOR, Mont. (WSET) -- Police have charged a man with assault after a witness said he threw a 13-year-old boy to the ground because the boy didn't remove his hat during the national anthem at a rodeo.

CNN reports that Curt James Brockway, 39, was arrested and charged with felony assault on a minor, according to an affidavit filed in district court in Mineral County on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

The incident happened on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Mineral County Fairgrounds in the town of Superior after the boy responded rudely when the man asked him to take his hat off, according to court documents.

Brockway told police the boy was wearing a hat as the National Anthem began, and he asked him to remove it because it was disrespectful to wear during the anthem, but the boy responded by saying "f*** you," according to the affidavit.

Brockway said he then grabbed the boy by his throat, lifted him into the air, before slamming the boy into the ground, the affidavit said.

Witnesses of the alleged incident confirmed most of Brockway's description of events, but one woman said she did not hear him ask the boy to take off his hat, according to records.

Officials say the child had blood coming from his ears, a concussion and a fractured skull,

The child's mother, Megan Keeler, told CNN affiliate KPAX that she received a phone call shortly after dropping off her son at the fairgrounds that he was being taken to a local hospital.
read it here

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Air Force Staff Sgt. Anthony James Dean and family killed in accident

Update: Air Force family in fatal highway accident identified

Valley News
Joshua Peguero
November 23, 2018

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D (Valley News Live) – Update: Staff Sgt. Anthony James Dean, 25, assigned to the 69th Maintenance Squadron, was killed in a vehicle accident near Billings, Montana, over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Dean’s remains were recovered alongside those of his wife, Chelsi Kay Dean, 25. Also deceased in the accident are their two daughters Kaytlin Merie Dean, 5, and Avri James Dean, 1.

“Words are not enough during a time like this,” said Maj. Eric Inkenbrandt, 69th Maintenance Squadron commander. “AJ’s family brought a light to our maintenance community, and this loss strikes each of us deeply. May their friends and family be granted the strength and serenity to get through this sorrowful time.”

Montana Highway Patrol discovered the accident scene early Saturday morning after searching for the missing family since Thanksgiving Day. Initial reports indicate they were traveling on Interstate 94 when the vehicle went off the road, eventually coming to rest in a creek. The crash remains under investigation by the Montana Highway Patrol.
read more here

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Montana:Veteran's Service Dog Stolen

Veteran pleads for service dog’s return
NBC Montana
by McKayla Haack
September 12th 2018

MISSOULA, Mont. — A veteran was traveling through western Montana Monday when he says his dog was taken from his truck early Monday morning.
Ryan Jones served in the Marines and suffers from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His dog, Masik, helped calm him down and makes him feel more comfortable in public settings.

He transports RV’s for a living and was stopped at the Travel Centers of America at the Wye, west of Missoula, late Sunday night. Masik’s back leg is shorter than the others and it’s hard for him to go upstairs. That’s why Jones said he left Masik in the truck with the windows cracked and the vehicle running. When he returned, the dog, cash and a tuner were all missing.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was just shocked, angry, I didn’t know what to think. I mean I’ve had to leave him in the truck before, but I just, it never crossed my mind that someone would take him,” said Jones.
read more here

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Virtual Reality for PTSD or VD?

Montana veterans testing groundbreaking virtual reality software
KULR 8 News
Katlin Miller
Posted: Jan 23, 2018

MISSOULA- A virtual reality software created in Western Montana is diagnosing veterans with a disorder that’s often mistaken for PTSD.

Brian Barnes spent three years in the US Army. He worked for a specialized group that trained for combat in extreme climates and terrain. After serving overseas in Afghanistan, he came back, as so many do, with unseen injuries.

“I was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD,” Barnes says.

Now, he’s testing a new product that was designed to help him better identify and treat his issues. Jason Zentgraf, a health and human performance specialist with the nonprofit group RIVER, says sometimes veterans suffer from another disorder related to PTSD.

Vestibular disorder is damage to the inner ear caused by loud noises. Left untreated, it can cause problems for everything from balance to mood.

“In December of 2016, there was a test conducted by the VA that out of this group of veterans with PTSD, 81 percent of them also had an undiagnosed and untreated vestibular disorder,” Zentgraf said.

The symptoms of vestibular disorder are so similar to PTSD that many veterans have it and don’t know, Zentgraf said.

Until now. A new virtual reality system called Virtual Mind is helping diagnose and treat vestibular disorder. The test uses multiple sensors and controllers to test visual and auditory reaction time, mobility and working memory, using eight tests that ask the viewer to move through a realistic virtual environment. It also includes tests for eye-tracking and balance.
read more here


The Vestibular Concussion Connection
Difficulty thinking clearly
Feeling slowed down
Difficulty concentrating
Difficulty remembering new information

Fuzzy or blurry vision
Nausea or vomiting (early on)
Sensitivity to noise or light
Balance problems
Feeling tired, having no energy

More emotional
Nervousness or anxiety

Sleeping more than usual
Sleeping less than usual
Trouble falling asleep

Monday, December 4, 2017

Montana Veterans "Hero Sound Project"

Hero Sound Project helps Montana veterans heal through music
December 4, 2017

MISSOULA - Statistics show that roughly 10% of Montanans are veterans and for some, dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a pressing issue.

The Treasure State lost 53 veterans to suicide in 2016, but a project in Missoula is working to reduce that number. The Hero Sound Project features a group of veterans who meet weekly to help mend the mind through music.

The music being played in the basement of the Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC) is helping to heal the psychological wounds of war. The Hero Sound Project is the brainchild of Iraq war veteran Clinton Decker who had an idea to help those struggling with the trauma of war.

“When I'm playing guitar nothing else really matters and it just kind of hit me one day this is really powerful stuff it's really helping me," Decker said.

“This is proven to be invaluable. it's been great stress relief, it's great for camaraderie. We just come here and have fun," said veteran Daniel Coleman. "There's no expectations anybody can come and play it doesn't matter if you plan instrument and we'll teach you.”

" Guys might walk in the door and, you know, might not be having a great day or whatever. But usually by halfway through everybody's loosened up and enjoying themselves and shrugged off whatever it is they brought in," Decker explained.

When the project was started two years ago, it was held in the back of the VFW bar in Missoula. "We're the back of the bar. I want this to be a legitimate therapeutic program. [So] we gotta get out of a bar," Decker recalled.
read more here

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Regina McIntyre Early, WWI Veteran, Montana Native American

Women veterans of WWI—so many stories yet to tell
KTVQ News Montana
By Ed Kemmick
Mar 25, 2017

An Army veteran from Laurel has been working for years to prepare for an event that will take place on April 6, the dedication of a memorial to women with ties to Yellowstone County who served in the military during World War I.

But Ed Saunders’ work is far from done.

He continues to search for the records of female veterans of the war from all over the state, and just this week he made one of his most exciting discoveries yet.

On Monday, Saunders confirmed that Regina McIntyre Early, an Army nurse who served in four hospitals in France during World War I, was an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in northwestern Montana.
Regina McIntyre Early’s discharge papers showed she served at multiple Army hospitals in France during and after World War 1. (Photo courtesy of Ed Saunders)
Saunders said McIntyre Early could quite possibly be the first female veteran of WWI who was an enrolled member of an American Indian tribe in Montana.

Thanks to Saunders’ research, the confederated tribes told Saunders on Thursday that they will be sending three female members of the Mission Valley Honor Guard, all of them tribal members, to the dedication of the World War I memorial on the lawn of the Yellowstone County Courthouse on April 6.

That day will mark the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.
read more here

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Army Captain Chaplain Received Soldier's Medal

‘Warrior’ chaplain honored for taking down machete-wielding suicidal soldier 
Ledger Enquirer 
Chuck Williams 
March 14, 2017
“Here is where the truth comes in,” Christensen said. “Nothing but fear, and I believe the work of of the Holy Spirit, moved me into a position where I could physically control the soldier.”
The black cross patch on the right side of Capt. Matthew C. Christensen’s U.S. Army uniform tells a story.

It’s where Army meets religion.

Two years ago, during his previous assignment in Alaska, the chaplain was forced into a situation where he had to act quickly with the fight-or-die instincts of a soldier. It was another place where Army meets religion.

Christensen, a 43-year-old Montana native, defused a potential deadly situation by unarming a machete-wielding soldier during a suicide attempt that was on the verge of turning into multiple homicides. Tuesday morning at Fort Benning, Christensen, who served as a Lutheran pastor before becoming an active duty chaplain seven years ago, was awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the Army’s highest honor for valor in a non-combat situation.
read more here

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Man Donated 10 Acres For Montana Veterans Home

Emotional testimony: Supporters push for money to pay for veterans home in Butte
The Missoulian
Renata Birkenbuel
January 27, 2017
The facility would be built on a 10-acre parcel of land near Continental Drive and the Interstate 90 interchange in Butte. Don Harrington donated the land. The other veterans homes in the state are in Columbia Falls, nearly a four-hour drive away, and Glendive, which is six hours away.
The Butte delegation and others on Friday pushed for the Legislature to approve a loan to build a long-awaited veterans home in southwest Montana that would serve the state’s many veterans.

Proponents overwhelmingly urged a subcommittee to help fund the projected $16.8-million project in bonds. The state has $5 million to commit to the nonpartisan project, but the federal government has not provided additional money as hoped because Montana is not on a high-priority list compared to other states.

“We have $5 million in the bank, but we need $10 million (of bonded money),” said Sen. Jon Sesso, D-Butte. “But we are losing more in construction inflation waiting to build the home. This is a simple formula.”

Sesso, Senate Minority Leader and one of the long-range planning committee members hearing testimony on House Bill 14, said Montana has been on the federal list since 2012.
read more here

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Older Veterans in Northwest Committing Suicide in High Numbers

Veteran suicide numbers high in the Northwest
Whitney Ward
November 07, 2016

In Washington, more than half of those veterans who committed suicide were over the age of 65, while in Idaho, it was a full 65 percent.
Iraq war veteran couple Colleen Ryan and Jeff Hensley set up 1,892 American flags on the National Mall on March 27, 2014. The veterans installed the flags to represent the 1,892 veterans and service members who committed suicide that year.
Rates of veteran suicide vary widely by state. Certain factors that make someone more susceptible to suicide, things like being over the age of 45, in a rural area, American Indiana/Alaska Native or White, people from areas of higher poverty and lower education, and access to firearms.

Many of those people can be found in the Northwest.

In 2014, the state of Montana had the highest suicide rate in the country. Idaho came in as sixth, while Washington was farther down on the list.

read more here

Friday, July 15, 2016

Vietnam Veteran Died Days After Being Honored

Vietnam vet, honored Saturday, dies Thursday
Great Falls Tribune
Tribune Staff
July 14, 2016

Ronald Doney sits with his tile on Saturday to be installed at the Montana Veterans Memorial. Doney died at home Thursday in Great Falls.
(Photo: Tribune Photo/Anissa Keith)
Ronald “Cree” Doney, 71, a Vietnam War veteran whose health was compromised by exposure to the chemical Agent Orange, died at home Thursday in Great Falls after a long illness.

A rosary and wake will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, and funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, both at Sacred Heart Church in Fort Belknap. See his obituary in Friday's Montana section of the Tribune.
read more here

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Marine Gets Back Stolen Items and Idenity

Man accused of posing as Marine, stealing veteran’s ID caught in Montana
FOX 13 News Salt Lake City
Dora Scheidell
JULY 11, 2016

“My medals are intact, my service record is there, thank goodness. Pictures of my buddies who aren’t with us anymore. The whole time I had spent in the Marine Corps has been restored," Kurt Harris.
SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah veteran may finally get justice after a man claiming to be a fellow serviceman allegedly stole his military uniforms and medals last month.

“Just an expert con man,” said Marine Kurt Harris of Michael Manning, who he met at a Salt Lake City gym.

Aside from Harris’ military uniforms and medals, Manning is also accused of stealing Harris’ car and laptop.

Manning was arrested in Montana over the weekend.

“I received a phone call from the Missoula Police Department,” Harris said.

Harris learned that Manning had been staying with a girl in Montana that he had met online, but when his demeanor started changing, she Googled his name.
read more here

Monday, July 4, 2016

Montana Veterans Walk As Team Toward Healing PTSD

Montana veterans find healing through nature, camaraderie
Great Falls Tribune
Jenn Rowell
July 1, 2016

"It’s the weight that they feel. Not one person can hike that the entire way, we have to do it as a team.”
Luke Urick

Pills and counseling don’t work for all veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.

That’s why Luke Urick and Scott Moss wanted to create a third leg to what they call the tripod of healing.

Veterans with the Montana Vet Program, part of Eagle Mount Great Falls, hiked from Livingston to Yellowstone National Park in May to raise awareness of the program.
(Photo: Photo courtesy of Amber Fern)
The two combat veterans, who were Marine Corps snipers, have created the Montana Vet Program at Eagle Mount Great Falls. MVP for short, the program involves veteran-led therapeutic hikes through Montana’s iconic locations, including Yellowstone and Glacier national parks and the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

MVP is a culmination of ideas that Moss and Urick had been kicking around and started coming together when Deb Sivumaki, director at Eagle Mount Great Falls, talked to Urick about creating a program for veterans.

Moss hiked in Yosemite National Park with a good friend and a fellow service member, who was killed about a year and a half later in 2009. Moss left the Marine Corps in 2011 and was living and working but wanted to do something.
read more here

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Remains of Vietnam War MIA Sgt. 1st Class Alan Boyer Buried

Long-missing Missoula soldier finally buried in Virginia
The Associated Press
June 24, 2016

After 48 years, the remains of a long-missing Vietnam War veteran
are being laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
(Photo: AP)
MISSOULA — After 48 years, the remains of a long-missing Vietnam War veteran are being laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

The Missoulian reports that Army Sgt. 1st Class Alan Boyer was buried on Wednesday by his sister, Judi Bouchard, of Florida. Both Bouchard and Boyer moved from Illinois to attend the University of Montana in the 1960s before Boyer left to join the Army.
read more here

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Conscientious Objector To Heroic Action in Vietnam

Vietnam War veteran awarded overdue medals
The Missoulian
Jun 2, 2016

BILLINGS – Nearly 50 years after performing the heroic deeds that garnered him medals including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, Vietnam War medic Gary Booth of Billings finally received what he’d earned Wednesday – with the help of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Tester told a crowd he has awarded overdue medals to more than 900 Montana veterans during his two terms in the senate. Booth’s story – which Tester plans to read into the Congressional Record next week – “is the longest citation I’ve ever done,” he said, “which speaks to what you’ve done in theater.”

Booth, 71, registered as a conscientious objector before being called into army service in 1965. According to the citation, Booth’s unit was ambushed by a battalion four times its size on Feb. 21, 1967.

It was Booth’s job to brave enemy fire and run to wounded American soldiers to stop the bleeding and stabilize them until they could be moved.
read more here

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hundreds Welcome Home Montana National Guardsmen

A Big Sky welcome: Hundreds turn out for Montana soldiers returning from Afghanistan
Independent Record
Updated 4 hrs ago
“This is not where you expect to be. I didn’t expect at 50 years old to be waiting for my husband to return from war.”
Mary Graff
A soldier poses with his family after returning from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan. Thom Bridge, Independent Record
A six-month wait came to an end Friday for the families of six Montana Army National Guard soldiers.

Wives and children, mothers and fathers waited for a plane to arrive that carried the soldiers who were returning from duty in Afghanistan, as did friends and others in uniforms of camouflage who said they too were in service.

John Bebich, a Marine Corps veteran, was among those who came for the ceremony. His son, David, was on the incoming plane. He said he understood what it’s like to leave for duty. He also understood what it’s like to return.

Bebich served from 1969 to 1972 and said as he waited for David that “the going part isn’t so fun.”

“To come back, it’s like Christmas. You wait for it to arrive.”
read more here