Giving Back in 2017

Our annual issue recognizing locals whose giving and goodwill make the Flathead a little brighter

By Beacon Staff
Jim Vincent works with Magpie on Dec. 14, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Horse Play

VA grant funds new therapeutic equine program that partners veterans with horses to learn and teach while healing


EVERGREEN – Jim Vincent stood in the arena, in temperatures below freezing, trying to coax a large horse named Magpie into stepping sideways.

The horse could do it, therapist Natalie Norrell said while watching from the sidelines, but didn’t know it; it was a matter of Vincent working with Magpie to foster a relationship in which she trusts him to show her how.



Bailey Lake, left, and Steve Bicknell, with the Kalispell Senior Center, pictured on Dec. 13, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Teenage Girl Donates Smoke Detectors to Homes in Need

Bailey Lake uses 4-H award money to help improve safety for vulnerable senior population


Every year, Bailey Lake’s award-winning market lambs earn her a tidy profit at the state fair, funds the 15-year-old high school freshman diligently deposits in a savings account for college.

This year, however, Lake decided to use the money a bit more capriciously — she spent it on charity.



Chris Krager, executive director of Samaritan House, pictured on Dec. 13, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Making Ends Meet at the End of the Year

Chris Krager has led Kalispell’s Samaritan House for 16 years and is thankful for the annual influx of holiday generosity


Last week, Chris Krager looked out his window, saw snow and worried. Krager, the executive director of the Samaritan House in Kalispell, immediately thought of someone who had probably just spent a frigid night alone in a car.



Xanterra Parks and Resorts employees Matt Folz and Dave Eglsaer wheel a cart full of slightly smoke-damaged goods into Garden of Eden Thrift and Variety in Columbia Falls on Dec. 8, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Generosity Rises from the Ashes

Montanans help one another during and after historic wildfire season


COLUMBIA FALLS — A few weeks ago, Mike Sandel and Matt Folz of Xanterra Parks & Resorts walked into Lake McDonald Lodge and were inundated with a familiar smell from the past summer.



Michael and Maranda Johnson, owners of Good Stuff Botanicals, and their children Finn, left, and Everest donate Gypsy Cream to Hearts and Hands Midwifery on Dec. 8, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Giving the Good Stuff

Maranda and Michael Johnson donate products from their company, The Good Stuff Botanicals, to organizations throughout the valley


Three-year-old Everest Johnson was excited about his potential gift haul this Christmas, as any child would be, and parents Michael and Maranda saw in their son’s eagerness a chance to explain the true meaning of the season. There is no receiving without giving, and they sat him down for a lesson in the value of selflessness.



Trevor Wilson eyes his next move while Mike Johnson looks over his list during the annual Shop with a Cop event at Target in Kalispell on Dec. 14, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Smiles Abound at Shop With a Cop

Columbia Falls Police Association buys holiday gifts for local students at annual event


Nine-year-old Serenity Shyann Brummett reunited with a familiar face last week at Target in Kalispell: the Columbia Falls police officer who, as she recalled it, gave her his badge earlier this fall while he was temporarily stationed at Ruder Elementary School.


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