KC CATTLE COMPANY

From the battlefield to the barn, former Army Ranger starts cattle farm

September 25, 2018 - 1:32 pm

by Colleen Katzenberger, Special to ConnectingVets.com

What does life after the military look like? This is a question I’ve watched many close friends struggle with answering. As a Gold Star Army Ranger Wife, I have seen the effects of war on many of my close friends. My brother, Patrick Montgomery, is no exception. In order to share a part of his story, I feel I need to rewind the clock to 2003 when Patrick met my late husband, Jeremy.

Jeremy was in the midst of his first year of college and Patrick was in eighth grade. Patrick had three older sisters and longed for the companionship of an older brother figure. Jeremy quickly stepped into that role for Patrick. Over the next couple of years, Jeremy and Patrick’s relationship only grew deeper. As Patrick watched Jeremy become a 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment Ranger, his own desires to be in the military only grew. Patrick even flew down to Savannah, Georgia to accompany me to Jeremy’s Ranger School graduation. I remember during the tactical demonstrations of the graduation ceremony watching Patrick’s eyes gleam with admiration and desire. It was no surprise to me when Patrick enlisted into the Army in 2010 with a Ranger contract. He was set on following in Jeremy’s footsteps.

Colleen Katzenberger Coursey

Patrick graduated from Basic Training the same week Jeremy and I welcomed our son, Everett into the world. It was an emotional weekend figuring out motherhood and watching my baby brother bond with my husband over a world I only stood on the sidelines to watch. A few months later, Jeremy deployed in March of 2011 a week prior to Patrick’s Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) graduation. Jeremy’s company had surged early that deployment. But, I was ecstatic to have Patrick join 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment in Savannah, Georgia after his graduation. I enjoyed having my brother around for a few months before he and the rest of the battalion deployed towards the end of May.

On June 13th, 2011 my brother would be called from his room to watch the live footage of the battle that cost my husband his life. At the young age of 21, a few weeks into his first deployment, my brother’s duty became escorting his brother-in-law’s body home to his freshly widowed sister. The weight of this task on my brother is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. As a result of these events, I would watch my brother struggle with disappointment in the Army career he had always aspired to follow and true survivor’s guilt. As soon as his contracted time with the military was over (the typical four years), Patrick made the decision to get out of the military and finish college.

However, he was faced with the question most veterans face when exiting the military life: What now? How would he quickly land on a new dream and hope for his future when the original dream had ended in such disappointment? Luckily, it was around this time in his life that he had reconnected with an old high school sweetheart. I think she was able to provide him the emotional support and stability he needed to push towards a new future. He got out of the military and enrolled at the University of Missouri where three years later he graduated with an Animal Science degree. While finishing his undergrad, Patrick found a passion for business and cattle. He decided to combine these newfound passions into something new and exciting.

KC CATTLE COMPANY

Patrick is now two years deep in operating and owning KC Cattle Company. Patrick’s company is based out of Weston, MO on a little less than 300 acres. His small business provides high-end wagyu beef to families and local restaurants. He started by delivering orders to local families and then expanded to providing the highly coveted meat to local restaurants. In addition, he just expanded to include shipping to the continental United States. As a high fan of the meat, I can attest to the amazing taste of wagyu!

In addition to providing amazing meals to families and restaurants around the country, KC Cattle Company provided my brother with new hopes and dreams. As most veterans can relate to the idea, the struggle is real to land on a post-military career that is as fulfilling as knocking down doors and getting bad guys. However, there is something very peaceful and healing to Patrick about being on God’s land, caring for the cattle, and the manual labor of running the ranch. I even think he enjoys the networking and people he has gotten to meet as his business has expanded. When Patrick started this business, he did it envisioning how much Jeremy would have enjoyed embarking on this journey with him. This has lead Patrick to focus his efforts on helping other veterans find their new mission in life through employment at the ranch or internships.

KC CATTLE COMPANY

Last week, my brother and his wife took a much-needed long-weekend down to Florida. He was desperate for someone to step in and provide the daily care to the ranch. Somehow, he suckered my family and me into packing up and relocating to the ranch for four days. As I woke with the sun and drove around the quiet ranch to check on the cattle, I understood the allure of my brother’s entrepreneurship. I even found myself thinking about how proud Jeremy would be of Patrick’s endeavor. Then, I stepped in a massive pile of cow poop and realized ranch life isn’t for me. But, I’m incredibly proud of my brother for getting where he is in life. He’s embraced this new challenge with the diligence expected of an Army Ranger.

 

Colleen Katzenberger is a Gold Star Spouse. Her husband Staff Sgt Jeremy Katzenberger was killed on  June 14th, 2011 in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan while serving with the 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment.  She currently lives in Missouri where she is a high school biology teacher. As Folds of Honor scholarship recipient, she now travels the country to speak about the organization and share her story.