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Gianforte Announces Spirit of Montana Recipient: Betty Campbell of Hays

September 7, 2018
Press Release

Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte recognized Betty Campbell of Hays with his Spirit of Montana commendation for her courage, sacrifice, and dedication to the memory of Michael “Bud” Campbell, her late husband, a World War II prisoner of war, and survivor of the Bataan Death March.

At 83 years old, Betty Campbell honored Bud by walking seven miles in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March in the high-desert terrain of New Mexico.

Gianforte’s Spirit of Montana is a weekly recognition of Montanans for their accomplishments, dedication, or service. Gianforte highlights the recipient in the U.S. House of Representatives and personally contacts the honorees.

Gianforte encourages anyone to nominate Montanans for the Spirit of Montana award by contacting his office at 202-225-3211 or by e-mail at

Gianforte’s statement in the Congressional Record about Betty Campbell is available HERE and follows:


Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Betty Campbell of Hays who, at 83 years old, paid tribute to her late husband by walking in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March in the high-desert terrain of New Mexico.

Michael “Bud” Campbell became a prisoner of war during World War II and survived the brutal Bataan Death March.

Bud was among thousands of Philippine and American soldiers forced to march nearly 70 miles with little food or water, enduring torture along the route and at POW camps where he was held for over three years.

After the war, he and Betty raised seven children, and owned a ranch in north-central Montana. Betty served her community as an educator for over 30 years, teaching in area schools and serving as a principal. For 20 years, Betty has served as a board member of the Big Flat Electric Cooperative.

In March 2018, Betty and her granddaughter Vernelle paid tribute to Bud by walking approximately seven miles at the 29th Bataan Memorial Death March, crossing the finish line together. The Bataan Memorial Death March is an annual tribute to honor the service members who defended the Philippine Islands and were taken as prisoners of war.

Betty said her emotions ran high as she thought about what her late husband and other prisoners endured. She reflected on the shoes she wore and the water she had available at nearly every mile, saying, “It wasn’t the same. It didn’t seem fair.”

Mr. Speaker, for her courage, sacrifice, and dedication in honoring her late husband, a World War II POW, at the Bataan Memorial Death March at age 83, I recognize Betty Campbell for her spirit of Montana