Founded for the purpose of advancing SMVF (Service Members, Veterans, and Military Families) networking and support in Montana, Impact Montana was created to subsidize existing SMVF support with new alternative and non-traditional methods of support relative to the success of life after military service. Our “Veteran Thrive Factors” have been developed based on personal military service and professional work experience as SMVF support and service providers. Working through the scope of these factors allows SMVF opportunities to build individually and as a unit (family or peer group). Impact Montana believes that a strong peer-to-peer support network and a more knowledgeable community can address the existing challenges that SMVF face. We also believe that there is not one organization who can take on the lone responsibility of SMVF support.
Ryan is the founder of Impact Montana and stands by its foundational principle of Montana needing to take care of our own through community based support and non-traditional programming. Ryan currently serves as the Community Employment Coordinator in the Homeless Veteran Recovery Program for the VA Montana Healthcare System. He also leads the Montana Joining Community Forces Career Key Service Area and has been influential in the development of the Montana Joining Community Forces initiative. He is a native Montanan and retired in December 2020 from the Montana Army National Guard after 21 years of service, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 with the 639th Quartermaster Company and in 2018/19 as the Battalion Chaplain for the 495th CSSB. Ryan has worked in many military and Veteran support capacities in the military, state government, private sector and in a faith-based context. Ryan has a BA from Washington State University and Masters in Divinity from Liberty University. He resides in Helena, Montana with his wife and four children.
Vice President-Chris Fuller
Chris joined the Marines out of High School and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Chris has served in some capacity in the organization since its inception in 2014 and now as the Vice President of the Board. He was born and raised in Montana and returned to Montana after active duty, working full time for Boeing, residing here with his wife and two wonderful children. The organization leans on Chris’ hard work ethic and ingenuity to fulfill event management demands. Chris is also an outdoor enthusiast and spends his spare time volunteering in the community for a local Search and Rescue Team and Rural Fire Department.
Tara and her family moved home to Montana in the spring of 2019, after being out of state for 10 years in Nevada and Minnesota. She is an ordained Lutheran pastor serving in outreach ministry in the communities in which they have lived. Tara was born and raised in Montana and received her Bachelor’s degree in Rangeland Resources from Montana State University. She went on to receive a Master’s degree in Animal & Range Sciences from South Dakota State University and then moved back to Bozeman to work in Extension and research in the Montana State University College of Agriculture. Tara joined the Montana Army National Guard after her first year employed at MSU. She served 8 years with the Guard and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 with the 3669th GS Maintenance attached to the 115th out of Utah. Upon returning home, Tara started seminary and met her husband. After marrying, moving to Nevada, and graduating seminary, they welcomed two children and Tara has been home with them in addition to ministry and forging out income producing opportunities from home. Over the past year, Tara has become a certified practitioner in Human Interaction Technology to assist people in healthier communication with themselves and others and working with people on overcoming trauma and loss. Tara and her family love exploring the Montana outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
Board Member-Aaron Jones
Statewide Volunteer Coordinator-Gary Brewer
Statewide Fundraising Coordinator-Logan Krause
Statewide Veteran Liaison-Thomas Parker
Physical Wellness Program Coordinator-Chantelle Russell