BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Bozeman community is teaming up to offer veterans a few hours of free shooting at a local shooting range on Veterans Day. And while veterans may flood through the doors of Zero In Indoor Shooting Center on Monday, any other day of the year, you may find the range has more to offer than a safe place to shoot firearms.
Lee Williams doesn’t normally work on Sundays, but you still might see him at his day job, Bozeman’s biggest indoor shooting range, any day of the week.
Williams is an instructor and the public relations and marketing manager at Zero In Indoor Shooting Center, a role giving him so much more than just a paycheck.
“It has been a dream come true,” Williams says about working at the range.
While it may be a dream now, Williams’ job hunt after leaving the Navy was more of a nightmare.
“When I was in the Navy, I programmed nuclear warheads on submarines and told them where to land,” Williams explains. “I get into the civilian world and I’m like, ‘Who needs a nuclear warhead programmer?’ And of course, every civilian looks at you like, ‘A what?’”
A few careers later, and Williams found Zero In, one of around 12,000 veteran-owned small businesses in Montana.
With more than half of the range’s staff being veterans themselves, the business has allowed employees to take skills learned in the military and use them to help ordinary citizens.
Williams says he likes breaking down the idea that guns aren’t good, and in turn, “bringing people in and teaching them and educating them and showing them how safe this place is.”
It’s not only a safe place for civilians, but for veterans themselves; both empowering and life-changing.
Williams has seen veterans take a full 180 after just one session in the range, speaking fondly of one guest – and now, friend – that credits Zero In with saving his marriage and as a “form of therapy.”
On Monday, veterans can enjoy a few hours on the range thanks to the VFW Nicholas Bloem Post 12112, which has bought out a stall from noon to 3 PM for any veterans to use. All that’s needed is an ID and proof of military or veteran status. You don’t have to own a gun to use the stall, either, and the range has lowered the rental cost for a gun from $15 to $10 for veterans on Monday.