Camp Patriot To Help More Veterans with New Ranch in Montana - | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Camp Patriot To Help More Veterans with New Ranch in Montana

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 WEST RICHLAND, WA - You'll hear incredible stories when Camp Patriot is the topic of conversation. The non-profit organization, founded in 2006, takes wounded veterans on outdoor adventures meant to show them they are able to live life to the fullest. Veterans from all wars are invited to heal from war wounds on the trips.

"Mostly, as with most of them, it's not really visible wounds," said Iraq veteran, Jeffrey Powell. He served in the aviation brigade, flying Chinook helicopters.

Camp Patriot took Powell on his first duck hunting adventure, a special trip just outside of the Tri-Cities. 

"I said well this is possibly a once in a lifetime chance so I'm going to go ahead and take advantage of it, come on down and see what it's all about," said Powell.

The location of the duck hunt is a hidden gem, really a hunting heaven.

"Barker Ranch is a little over 2,000 acres and it's outside of West Richland. It's in a conservation easement with the natural resource conservation service. It's managed exclusively for wildlife," said general manager, Michael Crowder.

"Through these adventures we hope to create a paradigm shift. Show them they have abilities to live life, not disabilities," said Camp Patriot CEO and founder, Micah Clark. 

Clark is also a veteran. He, like many soldiers, lost some friends in a war. When he finished serving he started Camp Patriot making an impact on veterans lives around the nation.

"Elk hunts with guys that are blind, climbing mount rainier, missing legs and their eyesight. So some of them have been extravagant kinds of trips but now with our ranch that we just purchased in Montana, we're going to be able to open up the doors and bring more veterans through. Hoping to bring in about 100 vets a year, at a minimum," said Clark.

Camp Patriot has already helped more than 150 veterans but the ranch in Montana has always been the vision. The 100-acre property is about 15 miles from the Canadian border on a lake, about an hour away from cell service. Right now, Micah and crew are remodeling the buildings, preparing the land and buying furnishing and adventure equipment for the homestead. 

Once the ranch is up and running, days like the duck hunt at Barker Ranch will be a year-round thing.

"It truly is my favorite day of the year, hunting-wise. I'm used to this type of hunting but most of these guys aren't. It's fun to take them out," said Crowder. Camp Patriot has been out to Barker Ranch on an annual trip for several years in a row now.

"It's nothing like anything I've done before. So I didn't know what to expect and just put it out there. I missed the first time and it's like, well you've got to follow up. You always have to take advantage of the situation," said Powell. 

To help more wounded veterans take advantage of their situations click here.