PEYTON — Warrior Mission Ranch is a nonprofit based out of Peyton that focuses on teaching veterans transitioning out of the armed forces skills like leatherworking and how to be a cowboy.
"What I do here is the real deal. We're teaching these guys how to be working cowboys," says founder Mike McCave.
McCave founded the nonprofit after his own experiences with leaving the army.
"Spent 17 years in the army, I was a Green Beret absolutely loved what I did, had no intention of getting out," says McCave.
While training cadets on how to jump out of an airplane, his parachute didn't deploy.
"I remember saying 'God please spare my life' probably 700 feet off the ground," McCave remembered. "Unfortunately my transition was really difficult. I broke everything from my L3, 4, and 5, my pelvis broke in half, both my legs are reconstructed".
"I hit the ground at 119 miles per hour, so there's no possible way I should be here today, let alone walking, let alone riding horses, roping or teaching anything as far as cowboy skills go".
McCave built Warrior Mission Ranch to help other veterans find a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
McCave says that working with a horse can help people find a sense of balance within themselves since horses can detect human emotions very easily.
"It helped me to start to reflect within and realize I never had a chance to slow down. I was always on the go, I was always pushing things to the side, and never looking inward and never dealing with anything," said McCave.
Warrior Mission Ranch has a three-step program for its veterans: teaching them how to be a cowboy, letting them work on the ranch and several other ranches across the West, and finding them an internship in the field they want to go into.
Scotty Oatman is a veteran currently going through the program so he can better understand what it's like to teach new veterans.
"It's a lot harder than it looks," says Oatman. "I tell you what, there are a hell of a lot worse ways to spend a day doing this".
Warrior Mission ranch is a registered 501c-3 non profit. If you'd like to learn more about them and what they do, you can visit the Warrior Mission Ranch Website.
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