The Missoula Region VSN is a group of Veterans, service providers, volunteers, non-profits and businesses who have built relationships in order to provide a complete portfolio of resources to help Veterans, service members, and their families obtain the services they need for transition, personal growth, and community belonging.

Their 6th annual Heroes at Home BBQ & Music Festival is scheduled for April 20, 2019 at Fort Missoula Regional Park. It starts with the Veteran Suicide Awareness & Prevention (VSAP) ruck run/walk at 10 am and the BBQ at 11 am. For more information visit their Facebook page at

Project Welcome Home Troop's mission is to improve the quality of life for veterans and their families. Their Power Breath Meditation Workshop provides breath-based tools that decrease stress, anxiety, and sleep problems; restoring well-being, mental focus, and a renewed sense of connection and purpose.

Our friends at the Three Forks Community Library in Three Forks Montana, are in the preliminary stages of planning a workshop in Three Forks. We will let you know when that becomes a reality. Until that time, you can check out workshops closer to your location by visiting their page. Project Welcome Home Troops is hosting a workshop in Boise Idaho the week of December 5 - 9. For all those that may be interested, please click on this article's title for redirection to their flyer.

Our friends at the Montana Joining Community Forces (JCF) association have a NEW website with links to resources, an event calendar, and contact information for all sorts of services providers. Please check it out and "Like" them on Facebook (bottom right hand corner of page).

JCF is a family, or association, of entities whose common goal is to provide services to our service members, veterans and their families (SMVF). Our members consist of businesses, organizations, groups, County and State and Federal agencies and volunteers. While many of them do not serve only SMVF, their clients include SMVF, and they happily join us in providing services to them.​
Montana JCF does not direct any actions of our members, or tell them what to do or how to do it. We merely attempt to coordinate the efforts of all in an attempt to plug service gaps, avoid duplication of effort, and thus increase the ultimate benefit to our SMVF.​

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a national celebration that offers leaders in business, labor, education, and other critical partners a chance to demonstrate their support for apprenticeship. NAW also gives apprenticeship sponsors the opportunity to showcase their programs, facilities, and apprentices in their community. The week-long event highlights the benefits of apprenticeship in preparing a highly-skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across diverse industries.

The Butte-Silver Bow Toys for Tots campaign and the Butte Pizza Ranch are hosting fundraiser on Thursday December 6, 2018 from 5 pm – 9 pm. The Pizza Ranch will donate 20% of your order and volunteers will be on hand busing tables for donations. They will honor the 20% if you dine-in, order to-go, or ask for delivery. In addition, if you bring a new unwrapped toy, you'll receive a $5 Fun Zone Card. Be sure to mention that you are supporting the fundraiser when placing your order. Please pass this on to anybody that likes pizza and loves kids.

Adult & Military Veteran Opportunity Fair
Adult & Military Veteran Opportunity Fair

Helena College is pleased to partner with VA Vocational Rehab, Helena Job Service, Volunteers of America, Career Training Institute, Carroll College, and more for the Adult & Military Veteran Opportunity Fair. Representatives from local agencies will answer questions about finding a job, community resources, apprenticeships, training and education opportunities and more! Helena College and Carroll College admissions reps will be on hand to answer your questions about starting or continuing your college education.

Helena College will also offer tours of the Airport Campus which houses the Computer Aided Manufacturing, Diesel Technology, Industrial Fabrication and Welding, and Aviation.

Adult & Military Veteran Opportunity Fair
Thursday, November 15th 10am – 2pm
Helena College Airport Campus Lecture Hall
2300 Airport Road

If you have a student in your life who you want to serve the community, here are some tips for how to encourage teenagers to volunteer with a cause they care about.

Operation Never Forgotten just finished producing a new TV PSA for Veteran Suicide Prevention that’s targeting rural areas. It will be airing for the general public throughout various regions soon!
Please keep your volume up to review this video. And, share it with caution for veterans who are sensitive to triggers.

Happy Veterans Day to all that have served and continue to serve our great Nation. Friday (Nov 9), I had the honor of participating in the taping of a show for the PBS series -Veterans Coming Home. My friend and fellow Veteran service provider, Anton Johnson from the Missoula Vet Center, were interviewed by the series producer and host, Ms. Susie Cohen. Our segment, titled "Finding What Works", highlighted three programs in Montana that help and serve Veterans. It was broadcast in real time on Facebook Live and can still be viewed by going to this link

We were also told that after editing it will probably start broadcasting nationwide on all PBS Television channels this Spring. For more details about the series, you can click on this link.

Our co-founder, Julie, sent me this article and asked that I write a few paragraphs for a description and post it to our website. Easy day, right? That’s what I thought until I watched it. At first, it was interesting that the BBC and our cousins across the pond were covering this crisis, but it also stirred up some emotions that I have been feeling since one of my friends took his life a few months ago. Honestly, whenever I really think about Pat it makes me tear up. I don’t really think he knew how much of an impact his death would have on those he left behind. Sure, he had his struggles and a laundry list of risk factors, but his spirit, sense of humor, and cheerful demeanor are what we remember and cherish the most. I really miss his crazy, infectious laugh and ever-present smile.
We’ve all heard the statistics and they are disturbing. For me the number is three. I primarily work with Veterans and help them find meaningful employment. I’ve been helping Veterans since I retired from the Navy in 2007 but started working for the State of Montana as a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP) employment specialist four years ago. In that time, I have had three Veteran clients that have committed suicide. Two of those clients were also my friends and called me all the time about things unrelated to work. Pat was one of those people and he would call me out of the blue for no apparent reason. We would talk, laugh, and discuss whatever. I would see him at school and the Marine Corp league meetings. I always looked forward to our conversations and story-swapping. Then he was gone.
I won’t get into the circumstances, but I will say his death hit everybody hard. Admittedly, his death affected me and made me question if I could really do this anymore. I considered leaving a job that I love because I don’t want to feel this loss again. After some reflection and an observation of a mentor heavily engaged in the Veteran community, I decided it’s not realistic for me to close myself off from Veterans. It’s just who I am. My mentor is a leader in our local Veteran community and he continues to serve. I’m guessing he has experienced far more loss than I have and maintains engagement. I also decided that I need to do more than just putting the crisis line number on my e-mail signature block and business cards to keep our brothers and sisters from taking their lives.
I started with an organization called XSports4Vets ( and it is my hope that we establish a Butte Montana chapter in the coming year. When I heard Julie give a presentation on the Whitetail Ranch Center, I fell in love with this project. I knew right away that I had to be part of it. When Whitetail Ranch Center becomes fully operational, who knows how many Veteran lives we will save. It’s a unique project with some smart people (way smarter than me) working behind the scenes to make it real. Maybe, just maybe we can do something to stop and turn this trend. Someday, the BBC and our British cousins might talk about the lives we are saving in Montana. Hopefully, they will be able to talk about the many Veterans that are continuing their story;

TO WATCH THE BBC VIDEO SEGMENT “What’s Killing America’s White Men? GO TO

History of Veterans Day
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

The Whitetail Ranch Center wishes the United States Marine Corps a Happy 243rd Birthday and thanks all that serve and have served as United States Marines. We happily share the Commandant's Birthday Message and excellent video.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green speak to Marines and Sailors about the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Belleau Wood, 100 years of women serving in the Marine Corps, and Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley. (U.S. Marine Corps video by Sgt. Erik Estrada and Ricardo Robinson)

The authors surveyed 128 female veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn. They found no link between combat exposure and depressive symptoms, and social support did not affect this relationship. However, their analyses revealed that lower levels of depression were related to higher levels of social support and financial comfort.

The Fort Harrison VA Regional Benefits Office is hosting a Claims Clinic and Open House on November 8, 2018 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at 3633 Veterans Dr. on Fort Harrison. The following services will be available:
Assistance with Filing Claims for Benefits or Obtaining Claim Status
Information on Veterans Benefits
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Information
Montana Veterans Affairs Division/American Legion/VFW/DAV Offices OPEN
Wounded Warrior Project Service Officers Available
Veterans Healthcare Information

Simplify your giving. Amplify your impact. Give BIG.

With this email, Give Big is officially kicking off it's 5th year & we could not do it without you! High-fives all around, friends! 2019 will be here before we know it, May will be quick behind it, and we cannot wait to Give Big with you again this year. As our partner in this initiative, we wanted you to get a couple important dates marked on your calendar for Give Big 2019:

1. Save the Date: Our 24-hour celebration of giving will begin at 6pm on Thursday, May 2nd and will end at 6pm on Friday, May 3rd. Mark your calendars!

2. Finale Party: We have some really exciting news coming soon about our Give Big Finale Party! We ask that nonprofits do not schedule Give Big events from 4:30pm - 7:00pm on Friday, May 3rd. Trust us, you won't want to miss this!

3. Nonprofit Registration: We will be opening registration to participate in Give Big on Monday, February 4th. We will also be hosting free in-person and online sessions in the weeks leading up to February 4th to learn more about this year's initiative. Until then, take time to talk with your board and staff about whether or not your organization would like to participate in Give Big 2019!

Caregiving is a valuable position in our community which often goes unrecognized. Let's look at what National Family Caregivers Month is and how you can celebrate it.

Mr. Bill Harrant MDIV shared this resource with us and asked us to share it. This guide is designed to assist people who use wheelchairs and their hosts plan for visits to inaccessible homes. It includes temporary and permanent modifications to accommodate these visits. The goal is to help people with mobility limitations visit their friends and families and hosts to offer them hospitality.

Bill Harant MDIV
Program Manager
DPHHS/State Independent Living Council
111 N. Jackson St. Ste 4C
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-4175

PsychArmor Institute is a Non-profit that provides FREE EDUCATION and support for all Americans to engage effectively with the military community.

PsychArmor is the only national institute of its kind, dedicated to bridging the military-civilian divide through FREE ONLINE EDUCATION. Additionally, PsychArmor provides a Support Center staffed with mental health experts that are ready to support you.

PsychArmor recruits nationally recognized subject matter experts to create and deliver online courses about issues relevant to the military and Veteran communities. Our self-paced courses are delivered within nine topic areas geared toward military culture, healthcare providers, employers, K-12 educators, higher education, volunteers, caregivers and families, transitioning service members, and communities serving Veterans. We provide critical resources to all Americans who work with, live with, and care about Veterans.

Good Afternoon,
We wanted to take just a moment to introduce you to our Support Center. Our clinical team is here to support you in your role by offering a listening ear and informed guidance throughout your experience. Allow us to help you select courses relevant and applicable to your needs or provide you with local and national resources for additional support services. We are here to provide you with empathetic assistance regarding the many different situations in which you might work with or care for a Veteran in your life. We can be reached through our online chat feature, by email, or by phone at 1-844-779-2427 and selecting option 1.
If you’re a caregiver, go to ( to learn how you can receive a Certificate of Achievement from our Military Caregiver Recognition Award Program.
We have also created custom binders we call “The Caregiver’s Experience” to provide caregivers a central place to keep important documents, notes from our courses, and valuable resources when you complete 2 or more of our caregiver courses ( Simply reply to this email or give us a call when you've completed the required courses and we will send you your special gift!
Again, thank you for registering as a learner with PsychArmor! We look forward to supporting you along the way.
Kirsten Alfaro White, M.A., Registered Associate PCC
Clinical Manager
Office: 858-800-3973
a 501(c)(3) non-profit #46-5124059

Military OneSource has been rolling out some new materials to help you provide information to service members and their families. Check out the attached pdf for four new products and follow links to place your order today.
• Confidential Non-medical Counseling trifold
• Keep This Card postcard
• 2018 Exception Family Member Program Resource, Options, and Consulting
• How MilKids Grow factsheet
If you would like more information about any of these programs or products feel free to contact me.
Tabitha Garvin-Betancourt | Military OneSource State Consultant
Contractor | Office: 406-781-4986
Visit or call: 800-342-9647


Wanted to share some resources for Veterans, but also the general public, who have experienced loss by suicide and trauma. The resources are provided by Dr. Shauna Springer, who works with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and will be providing services to the Montana VA in the coming months.

The link to the course "Suicide, Grief, and Trauma" is ( This course was sponsored by Boeing for national dissemination - so you and your colleagues may distribute it as widely as you wish. I am attaching the handout that we included (which is also accessible via the link).

Here is the course description:


This training develops insight around the experiences of grief and loss, as compared with trauma, for veterans and military family members. Specifically, we help participants understand several reasons why the grief of veterans and military family members may be “camouflaged” (and therefore unrecognized and unaddressed), even within supportive treatment settings. To address this, we identify common barriers that may prevent veterans and military family members from discussing their experiences of grief and loss. We argue that effective support of veterans and military families requires us to apply the right interventions at the right times. To advance this goal, drawing from decades of work with both grief and loss and trauma recovery, we identify 3 key distinctions that can help us discriminate between trauma and grief. Further, we explain why trauma must be proactively addressed and treated to allow for a healthy grief journey. Finally, we point out that while we must help those who are suffering approach (rather than avoid) both their trauma and grief, we do so with a fundamentally different goal: trauma recovery unbinds us from trauma memories, whereas healthy grief enhances connection and engagement with memories of a loved one who has died.

Shauna Springer Ph.D.
Senior Director, TAPS Red Team
In honor of my veteran patients who have lost brothers and sisters in arms

Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors
3033 Wilson Blvd., Third Floor, Arlington, VA 22201
Toll-Free: 800.959.8277 (TAPS)
Main: 202.588.8277 (TAPS)
Caring for the Families of America's Fallen Heroes since 1994.

If you strive to live an altruistic lifestyle, there are lots of ways to help out this Halloween. Here are some top tricks to make Halloween a treat for everyone.

WHAT: WANTO One-Day Exploratory Workshop

WHERE: City College, 3803 Central Avenue, Billings, MT 59102

WHEN: November 2, 2018 from 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM

WHY: The Career Training Institute is utilizing a WANTO grant (Women in Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Occupations) to host a one day workshop in Billings for females interested in exploring careers in apprenticeships and non-traditional occupations (non-traditional = less than 15% of workforce is made up of female workers).

During this workshop, women will have the opportunity to:
- learn about apprenticeship & educational opportunities in non-traditional career fields
- tour City College’s Trade education classrooms
- hear from employers and individuals currently working in non-traditional career fields
- engage in hands-on demonstrations

If you work with or know someone who may be interested, please have them fill out their registration information on the brochure attached and mail/fax/email a copy to:

Sydney Donaldson, City College
3803 Central Ave
Billings, MT 59102
(406) 247-3007

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to me via email or phone.

Bo Bruinsma
Equity Coordinator & Apprenticeship Specialist
(c) 605-751-9037
(o) 406-655-6064

How can you encourage the children in your life to be active and volunteer with their community? We have some ideas for how to get kids involved in giving back.

There are plenty of ways to get involved in your community. To get you started, we came up with six spooky-fun volunteering ideas for October.