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About The Campfire Project

Here at The Campfire Project, we see the value in everyone. We want to be a catalyst for positive change, since our beginnings in 2000 we’ve been driven by the same ideas we initially founded our Non-Profit Organization upon: Support, Empowerment and Progress.

Dealing with the challenges of today requires problem-solvers who bring different perspectives and are willing to take risks. The Campfire Project emerged out of a pursuit to inspire and support the community, and a desire for actions to speak louder than words.

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Meet Our Team

Aaron “Rollie” Rollins is a retired Master Sergeant with 24+ years of combined service in the United States Air Force and Washington State Air National Guard. He has a logistics and maintenance background and was a TACP support team member for 20 years.

 

Rollie says, “I’ve learned over the course of my career that taking care of people is my true passion. The Campfire Project gives me the ability to continue that work, helping our brothers and sisters in arms navigate through life’s challenges and post stress situations, to find a foundation under their feet that they can stand on and to give them a trusted circle that they can rely on.

 

I am honored to be part of The Campfire Project Team and look forward to all that we can do.”

Erik Eliel was born and raised in southwestern Montana and was commissioned into the United States Air Force through the ROTC program at Montana State University. Erik attended pilot training at Laughlin AFB, Texas and went on to serve on active duty for fourteen years flying the T-38, the C-141 and the U2. Erik separated from active duty in the spring of 2001, just months before the most devastating attack in history on U.S. soil.

 

This event triggered his calling back into military service.After a short break in service, Erik was able to regain his commission and went on to serve as an Air Liaison Officer in the Washington Air National Guard, Camp Murray Washington. He was the primary liaison to the 82nd Brigade, the Director of Operations for the 116 Air Support Operations Squadron and the Director of Operations for the 194th Air Support Operations Group.

 

He retired in April of 2022 after 28 years of military service.Honored and humbled to be surrounded by so many warriors, whose experience spanned the era from Gulf War I to OIF/OEF, Erik once again felt a calling back to join his military brothers and sisters as they identified a vacuum of advocacy/support and actioned a solution to help heal some of our country’s most dedicated combat heroes.

 

Erik was one of the earliest volunteers in the group that would eventually go on to form The Campfire Project. He considers it an honor of the highest magnitude to be able to continue to serve as a staunch advocate for those who have sacrificed so much in the defense of their country.

A native Montanan whose family legacy in the Big Hole Valley stretches back to 1894, master clinician Greg Eliel is fourth-generation cattle rancher with a deep understanding of the horse/human relationship. The seventh of eight children from this hard-working ranch family, Greg’s unique skills as a horseman and teacher are founded in lifelong values of integrity, humility, and commitment.

 

He received his training for his thirty plus years of horsemanship experience from master horsemen Ray Hunt, Tom and Bill Dorrance, and Buck Brannaman.Greg received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Montana State University, went on to work with Buck and deepen his study of horsemanship from 1989-1993, before stepping into his own as a clinician.

 

Since then, Greg has carefully developed a step-by-step program proven to bring out the best in humans and their horses. Greg teaches clinics across the country. Participants of The Campfire Project benefit from Greg’s kindness, positivity, humor, and deep experience. Greg helps participants overcome their personal roadblocks, create a vision for success, set goals, and implement that plan.

Aaron Rollins

Eric Eliel

Greg Eliel

Erik Brandenburger is an active Firefighter/EMT with 23 years of experience, ten of those as a Lieutenant. Erick was born and raised in Alaska and grew up in an outdoorsy family, learning the subsistence lifestyle of hunting and fishing with my dad, uncles, and cousins.

 

Erick says, “One of the most imprinted memories I have is sitting around the campfire listening to the stories my elders told. Stories of past hunts, family history and “solving the world's troubles”. I found the Fire service in a small village in Alaska and knew I had found another family. There were stories there too, not necessarily around a campfire but the tailboard of an engine after a call or drill.

 

I discovered that those stories were a way to heal from the hard calls, to pass on tips and tricks, and to learn from others. In both places I heard stories of hurt, healing, and history, that is why The Campfire Project is important to me”.

Tracy Lay is an Air Force veteran medic who has long wanted to give back to the veteran community. She has been in the medical field for more than 25 years and has worked as a nurse in addiction recovery, transport, and critical care services as well as her Air Force career.

 

She has served as a camp host for The Campfire Project since its infancy and is currently working to complete her nurse practitioner certification.

Erik Brandenburger

Tracy Lay

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