Meet Patrick Montgomery, the fearless leader and owner of KC Cattle Company. Learn more about Patrick's journey to opening up KC Cattle Company's doors and his mission to employ Veterans below.
Since I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to be in the military. My inspirations for what I wanted to do in the military changed throughout my adolescence. While in high school, my brother-in-law earned his tan beret and informed me of the prestige associated with the coveted Ranger Regiment. From that point on, that tan beret was the objective.
Fast forward almost six years and you would have found me submerged in one of the most grueling things I had done in my life. I had completed basic training, AIT, and airborne school. I was three weeks into Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, formerly known as RIP (Ranger Indoctrination Program). During the Ranger Assessment Selection program I had an instructor who probably would not win any popularity awards in the civilian world. He walked over and told us it was time for layouts. Layouts are something anybody in the military dreads. It is extremely tedious. We all had a very specific list of items we HAD to have in our ruck sack for the ruck march. It had to all be laid out in a very specific way on your poncho. “Your toothbrush goes here, your underwear go here,” you get the point. Well for every person in my class that had something out of place we got smoked. We somewhat welcomed doing physical exercise at this point because at least we were warm! But the smoking got worse as more items were found to be out of place and the instructor's tempers began to rise. It looks like one of those discovery shows when you see a group of tiger sharks devouring their innocent pray. It was during this chaos that it happened. A speech from the previously mentioned instructor that will resonate with me for the rest of my life.
One of my fellow ranger candidates had screamed or ratted on another one of our classmates. And this instructor leaped into one of the best speeches I have heard to this day. I’ll do my best to give an accurate synopsis of it. “Rangers, look to the men on your left and right. Some of these men are going to become your brothers. You are going bleed with them, cry with them, and some of you are going to die with them. This process is going to forge a brotherhood with some of you that you will never forget. I guarantee that each of the instructors here today would die for me, and I for them. The greatest way I can possibly think of dying is buried in a pile of my own brass defending one of their lives.”
Little did I know how real that speech would become. When my brother-in-law, SSG Jeremy Katzenberger, was killed on my first deployment, I had no idea the impact it was going to have on the rest of my life. I remember when I was bringing him home, during his funeral, and for years thereafter, people would go to a default response of, “I’m sorry for your loss but things happen for a reason.” It used to make me so angry. “How could you say something like that? Jeremy was a way better person, husband, ranger, father than I could ever hope to be.” Instead of saying this, I turned those thoughts inward, managed the best smile I could and replied, “thanks.”
The emotions of his death overwhelmed me. Anger, sadness, grief, and more anger, coupled with drinking was a cocktail I used as a dangerous crutch for the first few years after Jeremy’s death. On the outside, I put on a smile and tried to stay the same outgoing person I had always been, but on the inside, I was slowly losing myself. I felt so much guilt. Why was I here and Jeremy gone? This question haunted my thoughts almost every waking moment.
I didn’t want to talk to anybody about it because I was afraid of appearing weak, mentally unfit, and I especially hated seeing the look of sympathy in someone's eyes when I would tell my story. These choices and turning my feelings inward led me down a dark road that eventually resulted in me hitting rock bottom.
From there, I had to make a choice. Am I going to let this destroy me or am I going to ranger-up and become the best version of myself in Jeremy’s honor? I wish I could take the credit for choosing the latter, but I give all the credit to finding my way back to a higher belief and my wife. After my exit from the military in 2014 I went back to school, at the University of Missouri, to pursue a degree in Animal Science to become a vet. Somewhere along the way I discovered this wasn't my true calling, and with some more soul searching my next mission was discovered. KC Cattle Company began when we still lived in Columbia, MO and I went to a cattle auction. My wife specifically told me not to buy any cows, we only had a small fenced in backyard. She knew me too well. I ended up purchasing a mama and a calf, and the start of the KCCC Full Blood 100% Wagyu herd was born. From there we found property in Weston, MO 45 minutes from where we grew up in Parkville, MO, and began getting our hands dirty to get KCCC off it's feet. It hasn't been an easy road, but watching the mission and service of our company unfold makes it all worth while.