Horse therapy helps veterans heal in Flathead County

KILA – Bill “Cowboy” Miles has dedicated his life to helping veterans and first responders in the Flathead Valley, making sure they never feel alone after suffering traumatic experiences.

Miles has worked with hundreds of veterans through a number of different outreach programs including special healing through horse therapy, at a family ranch in Kila.

“You know somebody has to make a difference and it starts with us, and we take that challenge,” Miles told MTN News.

Miles has lived in Flathead County for 29 years after serving his country overseas.

“I served in the United States Air Force 1989-1993 in support of Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm,” he noted.

Sean Wells/MTN News

He now serves another mission in Flathead County, helping veterans in need through horse therapy.

“And we work with them, we connect them with the horse, and its life changing for those that come through the program, it’s just a phenomenal program, we’re changing lives in this valley every day, I believe that with all my heart ,” said Miles.

Miles is the Outreach Coordinator for Valor Equine Therapy Services in Kila, a nonprofit dedicated to providing therapeutic services for military veterans and first responders.

“If you’re feeling down, we’re going to help you, the horses are going to heal you,” said Valor Equine Therapy Services volunteer Sean Keller.

Valor Equine Therapy Services

Sean Wells/MTN News

Keller said veterans feel comfortable alongside horses, allowing them to share a special bond while building trust.

“When you bond with a horse it gives you an opportunity to release those masks and basically just let them feel your feelings and let the horse help you, basically the horse heals you,” said Keller.

Miles gives his time to several veteran and first responder programs in the valley, serving on countless boards from Homeward for Heroes to Braveheart Chaplain Ministry and more.

“It takes no effort to find someone that needs help, and if I find them and they need help I’m that guy that wants to help them, that’s just what I do,” said Miles.

Valor Equine Therapy Services

Sean Wells/MTN News

Mason Jacobson is a United Stated Coast Guard Veteran; he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder five years ago.

He met Miles through horse therapy and has seen firsthand the unrelenting passion Miles displays for veterans going through hard times.

“I can call him 24/7, if I’m going through struggles at 2 am, pick up the phone and Bill will be there as fast as he can get there to help you out,” said Jacobson.

Miles said the countless hours of hard work and care are always worth the cause if it means one veteran’s life is saved.

Valor Equine Therapy Services

Sean Wells/MTN News

“And what we see by doing this is we’re changing lives of the veterans and the families, but we see that we’re growing as a community because we’re making a difference, it’s all about saving one,” said Miles.

KPAX and Whitefish Credit Union continue to highlight unsung heroes in Western Montana. Each week we will spotlight someone who made a difference in our communities and also award them VIP ticket’s to this summer’s Under the Big Sky Festival in Whitefish.

KPAX, Under the Big Sky, and Whitefish Credit Union continue to highlight Unsung heroes in the community. If you would like to nominate an Unsung Hero who has made a difference in your community, visit https://www.whitefishcu.com/WeSeeYou.

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