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Gianforte Announces Spirit of Montana Recipient: Justin Downs of Molt

April 5, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Greg Gianforte recognized Justin Downs of Molt with his Spirit of Montana commendation for his selfless service to his community and for coming to the aid of an injured rancher amid hostile winter conditions.

Downs escorted the man to safety with his farm tractor when snow-drifted roads and fields prevented emergency vehicles from reaching him.

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 follows:


Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Justin Downs of Molt for rescuing a severely injured man amid harsh winter conditions. 

A rancher from northwest of Billings, Justin is a volunteer firefighter with the Broadview Fire Department. On a day in early March with challenging winter weather, he was called upon to aid a man injured in a ranching accident. The man was immobile, and because of snow-drifted roads and fields, emergency vehicles were unable to reach him.

As he has done countless times before, Justin responded to the call. Using his farm tractor, he and a medic began crossing the fields of deep snow about two miles from where conditions had forced emergency vehicles to stop.

Upon arrival, the medic provided initial treatment for the man’s injuries. Justin and the medic then loaded the man into the cab of Justin’s tractor. Justin drove through the snow-covered fields to the rescue vehicles where he left the man with emergency personnel. He then crossed the fields again to get the medic, who had stayed behind because of limited space in the tractor’s cab.

“I know people would help me out if I needed it. We just do what needs to be done when it needs to be done,” Justin said.

Winters in Montana can be harsh and produce dangerous conditions, especially in rural areas where travel can be disrupted for days. It’s encouraging to know neighbors stand ready to lend a hand in times of need.

Madam Speaker, for his selfless service to his community and for coming to the aid of an injured rancher without hesitation and amid hostile winter conditions, I recognize Justin Downs for his spirit of Montana.