MICHAEL | IMPACT MONTANA
“I am a lover of life … and a survivor of war”
We all know where we were the morning of September 11, 2001. Michael Elliot was stationed in Okinawa, Japan fulfilling his life-long dream of serving in the United States Marine Corps. Shortly after that, he was part of the opening mission in The Iraq War.
In combat, servicemen and servicewomen are used for their tact, skill and training. They are valued beyond that by their family, friends and communities waiting for them at home, but because of war, they become like tools. Utilizing human-to-human combat to end societal conflict means someone’s son or daughter must be there to operate the equipment.
Michael Elliot of Helena, Montana knows that feeling intimately. He has been out of the active military for 17 years, but he is reminded of the things he lived through every day. In his own words, “war takes something from you.”
After trying to work through his experience personally and exhausting the available resources through organizations like the VA, Michael was introduced to Impact Montana. Impact Montana is a nonprofit organization run by veterans for veterans. They want active and retired service members and their families to thrive in their current situations and be excited about the future.
One of the many things the Impact Montana team does for veterans is generate relationships with local organizations that provide advanced physical, emotional and mental healing treatments. Michael Elliot says Impact Montana and these treatments changed his life.
“I am experiencing a level of hope and healing that I have never had before.”
Michael’s story is one of success, but not every person who returns from war is like Michael. A daunting reality is that – along with any physical ailments – many veterans suffer from intense PTSD and experience debilitating stress. Sadly, we also lose local Montana veterans far too often to suicide.
Montana is frequently referenced as the “most patriotic state”, with high rates of military enlistment among its communities. There is a sense of pride seen in Michael and his comrades. They dream about the opportunity to serve their country. We must not let that dream turn into a nightmare.
As seen by Michael’s testimony, the government-provided services for veterans and their families are not enough. In a state as large as Montana, resources are often hours away from suffering veterans who have no easy way to get there. That’s where Impact Montana steps in.
Impact Montana gives veterans access to resources they would not receive otherwise. They receive things like: biofeedback, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, cryotherapy, floatation therapy, infrared sauna therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic services. For Michael and many others, this is life-changing and life-giving.
Our veterans are not broken tools when they return from combat, they are human beings worthy of hope-filled, prosperous futures just like Michael.