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 organizational support pillars have been developed based on personal military service and professional work experience as SMVF support and service providers. Working through the scope of these pillars 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 (as well as Uniform in Christ) 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 has been a member of the Montana Army National Guard since 2000, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 with the 639th Quartermaster Company. 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 from Liberty University. and currently serves as the 495th CSSB Chaplain. Ryan and his wife reside in Helena with their three young and energetic children and yellow lab.
Vice President-James Bissett
Jim serves as the Executive Director for Spring Meadow Resources in Helena. He has sat on ethics committees with hospitals as well as served on other boards. He has been in the Helena area for about 2 ½ years. Prior to coming here, he was in Wyoming where he oversaw multiple programs including veteran programs. Prior, he came from Texas where he worked with the state there filling roles as QA manager as well as the Disaster District Representative. Jim has an MBA from Texas A&M University.
Secretary-Samantha Kemp Erpenbach
Samantha is a Grants Contract Coordinator with Montana Fish WIldlife and Parks and the owner of Kemp Events, LLC, an event and meeting management company in Helena. She has a Masters Degree in Tourism Administration from The George Washington University School of Business and previously was the Director of Conference Services at Carroll College in Helena and the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. Samantha returned to Helena in 2011 and is an active member of Women’s Leadership Network of Helena, a volunteer with Dogs on Deployment (a national organization), and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. She resides in Helena with her husband and three Labrador Retrievers, McKenna, Lapua, and Ridley.
Wanita is a sixteen-year member of the Montana Army National Guard and has served on the Impact Montana board since 2016 as our Treasurer. She is also a spouse of a retired MTARNG Soldier/veteran recognizing and filling the vital role that a spouse plays in the military family. She currently works for the Regional Veterans Benefits Administration office as a Veterans Service Representative. Her passions and hobbies include spending time with her family camping and enjoying all that Montana has to offer. She resides in Helena with her husband, son Chase and beloved companions – Bayley, Kane and Oz.
Board Member-Chris Fuller
Chris joined the Marines out of High School and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Chris supports the organization as an integral part of Impact Montana’s event leadership team. 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. Chris also spends his time volunteering for Uniform in Christ, Search and Rescue and the local Rural Fire Department.
Interim Director-Debbie Kemp
Debbie comes to us from Helena. She is married to a veteran and current member of the Montana Army National Guard of 19 years. In her spare time she keeps activities going for her family which includes 2 very active boys. Debbie enjoys running and riding horses on her free time. When the opportunity arises she is there to support our local charities and veterans. Being married to a military man for 13 years she has the insight and knowledge of being on the home front and what it entails when a loved one is serving their country.