Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters cruised above Bozeman Thursday, giving ‘bosses’ from several local businesses and organizations a bird’s eye view of the Bridgers.
‘Boss Lift’ is a program run through the Montana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (MT ESGR) funded by the Department of Defense.
The mission is to tighten the bond between National Guardsmen and Reservists, and their civilian employers.
"You get to see Montana from a lower altitude than a commercial jet. So you see these young folks that are flying these, in the flight crews, that are Montana residents, Montana kids, doing their military job,” said Mike Flaherty, Chair Emeritus of the MT ESGR.
The group Thursday included doctors, Bozeman police, firefighters and representatives from several local businesses.
With sun shining down on the choppers circling Gallatin Valley and the Bridger mountain range, leaving a positive impression wasn’t too hard.
"It was outstanding,” said Christian Pederson, Service Manager at Bozeman Audi. “So proud of our military and I’ve never been in a military helicopter."
Thursday’s flight came with presentations from ESGR and members of the Montana National Guard on the benefit and importance of hiring Guardsmen and Reservists.
"They have the training, they have the wear-with-all to show up to work, to be educated, to work the programs,” Flaherty says.
Flaherty says the hardest part of finding jobs for servicemembers, is exposure and getting them connected to employers.
Pederson says Bozeman Audi has hired members of the Guard and Reservists before and would again.
"They have to have an income to provide for themselves and their families and they also provide us a service to protect our great country,” Pederson said.
Overall, Flaherty says the day was a success.
"A typical day was today, in that, employers are looking for employees, so they come up after and they say 'hey, can I send you an employment notice? So we can get it out to the guardsmen and reservists,” Flaherty said.
"They're sought after, and it's a great thing."