BELT – The very first Knuckle Buster, which was hosted by the Montana Vet Program, took place outside of Belt over the weekend.
It was a five-mile obstacle challenge that not only challenged people physically but mentally as well. There were 20 obstacles in total ranging from rope climbing to mud pits.
Montana Vet Program assistant program director Tim Egnoski said an event like the Knuckle Buster is needed for those coming back from combat.
“It’s a great way to meet people, network and build camaraderie and that’s what we do in the Montana Vet Program,” said Egnoski. “We’re reestablishing camaraderie between veterans when they sort of lose that, they get out of the military and lose that connection, we’re reestablishing that. So this is a good way to do that between veterans and our communities.”
When Hezekiah Langston woke this morning, he had no plans of running in the Knuckle Buster, but he knew it was something he needed to do. “Partly to honor my mother,” said Langston. “I just came back from California, I picked up her ashes. I just want to run in her memory.”
Her love and guidance prepared him for life after combat.
“She gave me the strength to carry on, even from dark places to be able to continue on and to continue forth. And knowing what it means to sacrifice, seeing all the sacrifices she made in her life for me,” said Langston. “I’ve been over to the desert and I’ve seen some things. Physically, I’m okay, but you just keep pressing through.”
He did this to help himself and other combat veterans, as well.
“It was a tough transition coming back. There’s a very strong camaraderie when you’re over there and bring that back and learning to surround myself with friends and family to help you out,” said Langston. “There’s a lot of people that I know say, ‘Well, I’m not really disabled or whatever.’ You went through a lot and you just do the best you can with what you’ve got.”
But never forgetting who helped mold him.
“She was a very strong woman,” said Langston. “Took care of me in ways I can’t explain, but she made me the person that I am and if I didn’t have her in my life, I couldn’t be the person that I am.”
Egnoski added the Knuckle Buster will be an annual event from here on out.
Reporting by Kaley Collins for MTN News