Camp Patriot Disabled Veteran’s Retreat Ranch; Continued from Page 1
By Brian Baxter
And off in a remote corner of northwest Montana, far removed from any glitter and gold, is a treasure of indescribable value that has a most unique way of thanking our men and women whom have served our country. Camp Patriot Veteran Retreat Ranch is a one of a kind facility dedicated to wounded and disabled veterans of all generations. The ranch encompasses over 90 acres of wildlands, bucolic fields, coniferous forest, diversified wildlife, is adjacent to the Yaak River, and has access to a spring fed lake. The guests of the ranch are offered an authentic Montana back-country experience tempered with modern day luxuries. On the day I was privileged to have a look into the world of Camp Patriot Ranch, it had snowed fairly heavy for mid November. The pass up the Pipe beyond Turner and just below Flatiron Mountain was tricky. Being hunting season, a couple of stops were made to check tracks and sign of any moving elk and deer in some old spots. Rolling down the hill into the ranch, an awareness of the cool location for a retreat was all around. Micah Clark was on a four-wheeler plowing snow, waved, and ducked into the Liberty Lodge. It was picturesque. I snapped a photo, as an all white guard dog came charging. A defensive posture and a few kind words mellowed him out.
Kicking the snow off my boots at the door, Micah yelled come on in. A friendly guy with a big smile, we shook hands and walked over to where he was working at his new freeze drier making chocolate and strawberry freeze dried ice cream for his guests to enjoy on their outings into the natural world. He shared a sample. Pretty good. The lodge was a log structure, with lodgepole and larch handmade furniture. There were some awesome mounts, including a Canadian lynx and a record Big Horn sheep which retired Wildlife Biologist Al Bratkovich donated to Camp Patriot. The Retreat Ranch offers veterans neat experiences away from the distractions of everyday life. There’s a host of programs and unique challenges for disabled veterans, such as climbing, fly-fishing, cycling, skiing, four wheeling, snowmobiling, archery, shooting sports and more. Veterans from all over the country have the opportunity to create new relationships and gain new skills in a wide range of outdoor activities. At the ranch, Food and communal meals play a leading role. Guests get to enjoy meals from foods raised on the ranch’s farm, gardens, and commercial greenhouse.
Camp Patriot’s programs challenge veterans to learn new ways of thinking in order to overcome their wounds on their way to accomplishing amazing goals. These challenges represent a crucible of changes that proves to each participant that they can overcome any obstacle. Camp Patriot mentors and staff are leaders who assist in guiding the veterans through the process of healing their physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds in order to successfully reintegrate into school, careers, their families and communities. At the larger lodge that we visited next, there was a long communal dining table, sleeping quarters, a gym with modern equipment, and a beautiful deck with a fantastic view. There, Micah played a video he wanted me to watch with him. To say it was moving would be a complete understatement. In one segment, a veteran who had received a head and face wound, was riding a horse at a pretty good gallop. Micah said, “He told me that as he was riding along he saw the shadow of him and the horse moving together and realized there was really not that much wrong with him, that he would be OK.” Another veteran, Mike Day, told Micah Clark, “I was shot 27 times and had a grenade detonate a few feet from me; overcoming the physical wounds was easy. Healing the emotional and spiritual wounds has been a struggle. Camp Patriot helped to overcome these wounds.” Mike Day (U.S. Navy SEAL) has a book out titled Perfectly Wounded.
Camp Patriot is a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization, and unfortunately like many other businesses has been hit hard by Covid-19. Right now, Micah, his all around handyman Dave, and the office manager Donna, are doing the lion’s share of the work up on the ranch, and there’s a lot of work to be done. If you are interested in obtaining more information, helping out, or donating, you can call the ranch at 295-7162, the office manager at 293-4376, see the website at camppatriot.org or email Mike Clark at email@example.com. Their mailing address is PO Box 627, Libby, Montana, 59923.
Veterans fishing below Koocanusa Dam. Photo courtesy of Camp Patriot
Flathead Electric Cooperative is accepting applications now for two scholarship opportunities for the 2021 academic year. Basin Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC) awards one $1,000 scholarship each year to a Flathead Electric member’s child, and the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association (MECA) awards one $500 scholarship to a regional electric cooperative member’s child. To be eligible, the applicant or their parent/guardian must be a member of Flathead Electric Cooperative, and they must be graduating from high school or currently attending an undergraduate college. By completing one online application, students will be considered for both scholarships. Applications will be accepted through January 2, 2021. Awards will be announced in March 2021. For more information or to apply, visit www.flatheadelectric.com/scholarships.
Submitted by Wendy Ostrom price
It’s that time of year again! Around the country, graduating seniors are preparing for life beyond high school. And for many budding scholars, that means applying for scholarships.
Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is doing its part to get them started out right. Just like previous years, it will be awarding $250 scholarships to eight students throughout the North Idaho and Northwest Montana Scotchman region.
Scholarships will be awarded based on essays students submit with their application. The essay should be centered on a most memorable wilderness experience that helped shape the writer’s life. While they don’t have to be set in a designated wilderness, they should show the personal impact of a trip into a wild country. Take us along on quiet trails or bushwhacking into the backcountry where no motorized vehicles are to be found. Whether the story involves camping, hiking, fishing, hunting berry picking, or horseback riding or something else, it’s a wilderness-values experience if human influence on the land is minimal!
One winning student will be selected from Troy, Libby, Thompson Falls and Noxon, Mont. Four winning students will be selected from Bonner County schools. Check with your high school guidance counselor for the application and deadline details.
Submitted by FSPW