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Missoula Fire veteran says coaching youth sports is a tremendous experience

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MISSOULA - These days he spends all of his time helping to defend the community from fires. But for 9-years, veteran Missoula Fire Captain Garrett Venters was also known for his defense on the gridiron, coaching the young in Florence every fall.  

It’s a journey that springs from his own football days and providing for his family as he was hired as a firefighter in 1999. 

“It’s just been a great place to work," Venters said. "A great community and we just have good group of guys to work with.”

And a job that’s been the center of his life ever since. But along the way, Garrett found time to give back to Florence and his family.

“I have three boys of my own. And so I got involved with coaching down there. Baseball, basketball and football for the youth kids and stuff like that. And it kind of escalated into high school, the varsity program. So I did that for nine years.”

Garrett stepped down as the Falcons’ Defensive Coach this year, when the family moved into Missoula. But they brought a lot of memories with them.

“I coached with some great guys. Terry Maki, Tyler Guilder and now the current coach Pat Duchien.” 

“I want to thank Florence actually because it was a great place to raise a family. It was just a great place to raise my family.”

And he encourages anyone out there who wants to coach to step up, and become a mentor to teach responsibility and respect.

“It’s a lot of work. And I know it can be very frustrating at times. But I would just say stay positive the whole time. These kids are really looking up to you. And what you say and do they think it’s okay.”

"I had the privilege to have Don Read as my coach for the University of Montana here and he always took the high road. Vanilla everything. Watch your language and stuff like that. Because these kids are really impressionable. And I would say to treat them mostly how you would raise your own kids.”

Today, one of the Venters boys is playing at Sentinel High School, where another is a senior javelin thrower who just signed with the Griz.

“It is hard sitting in the stands and watching and knowing that I might be able to contribute to the kids and stuff like that. But I’m getting used to it a little bit more Dennis and it’s nice having a little bit more free time.” 

Venters is still coaching, but this time with his fellow firefighters as part of the group that’s improving their performance through cross-fit.

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