Jonny is the Founder and Executive Director of Heart of a Mountain, and a life and professional development coach. He is a retired SSG from the United States Army. He was medically retired in October of 2013 after being active duty for almost 12 years. He served with the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) in both C Co and A Co out of Ft. Myer, VA; with C Co, 2/503 Airborne, 173rd ABCT out of Vicenza, Italy; and as an instructor with the 7th Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Grafenwoehr, Germany.
He is married to Lindsey since October 2004, and together they have three beautiful Daughters: Sierra, Savannah and Skye. Their journey through the Military and a combat deployment has taken their family through both life-altering and strengthening times. They all live together in Colorado Springs, CO.
Jonny spent his time in the Military as an Airborne Infantryman. He served proudly as a Squad Leader in an Airborne unit and was trained as an Instructor for the Warrior Leaders Course. In July of 2008, his Platoon was involved in the Battle of Wanat. One of the deadliest battles of the Afghan war. Although the odds were against all of them, he survived. This battle is where his journey began. He has been recognized for his skills, knowledge and valor with medals such as the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, and many more.
As a Maxwell Leadership Certified Coach and Speaker, Jonny loves to help others find purpose and direction. When he’s not looking to improve the lives of others, he spends his time expanding his knowledge on the outdoors through fly fishing, fly tying, snowboarding and anything near water. His time in the Army only fueled his passion and love for the outdoors. Jonny finds healing by remaining actively engaged in the Veteran community and helping fellow Veterans find their healing through a relationship with Christ. He continues to use his leadership experience to guide and mentor others in their pursuit and give glory to God.
At about 4am on 21 December 2021, I was awake in bed, recovering from a pulmonary embolism and a deep vein thrombosis. These were a constant reminder of the serious case of COVID I had just fought off. This was not the first time this year I had struggled physically and found myself in a hospital bed. Now at home and slowly recovering, my mind began to race. A buddy of mine (Justin Martinez) had been actively seeking ways to help my family through this difficult period.
On top of all my health issues that mostly stem from my military service, our house was falling apart. It was never far, and has never been far from my mind. Every day is a constant reminder of the things that need to be done that I just cannot always do. For my wife and I, it has been a burden as we survey our needs around us. I had at some point in my illness, muttered off to Justin how much help we need in our home. The days following, Justin began pooling resources to try and find a way to help us. As connected as he is, he still found himself struggling to see if he could get someone to come and assist and improve the safety and security of our home. He called me one day, totally frustrated, and voiced how much he wanted to help us but how hard this has been.
My mind began racing and asking, “why it would be so difficult for him to accomplish such a task?” I was so thankful for the effort alone that he was willing to try. At the same time though, I felt bad that it was such a struggle. My mind ran deeper and I began realizing we have somehow missed the mark in our veteran community. There are so many amazing programs out there that help with the mental/spiritual/physical health of our combat injured veterans, but at the end of the day and the end of every trip, they still have to go home. As a member of this community I have heard it over and over - “I get a lot of great trips and services, but I need help keeping my home from falling apart.”
The morning of the 21st it hit me. Why isn’t the local community in the homes of these warriors finding ways to improve their quality of life? Why couldn’t these men and women come home from either work, a therapeutic trip, a family vacation to a safe and secure environment? Why aren’t we meeting them right where they are? Should their home not be the most comfortable, safe place they could heal and recover from their injuries? YES! This is their base of operations - Command Post - triage unit. It is the most important place where they can do their most productive healing and it should be an environment that supports this.
This is what drove the passion and idea to develop an organization that can connect combat injured veterans with local contractors, laborers, and volunteers who are freedom-loving patriots that are thankful for the service and sacrifice of our nation’s warrior. Beside these warriors are the families and loved ones who have been there through the fight as well. They are the support structures and caregivers at the side of these warriors through all the pain and struggles. Should they not also feel safe and secure in their home with their warriors? Something as simple as making repairs and improvements to the safety and security of homes can offer this peace of mind. Knowing that their home is in good condition and a safe place to live can eliminate that one, nagging anxiety in the back of all our combat injured veteran’s minds. It would be one less thing to worry about. One less thing to cause stress and anxiety in already troubled minds. One less brick in the ruck sack.
If we can come together to make these connections and improve just one veteran’s quality of life at home, we have found the success we are looking for. But if we can serve an entire community, and maybe even one day a Nation of veterans to find ways to help improve their living/home situation, we can have a maximum impact. TRUE HEALING HAPPENS IN THE HOME
Board of Directors
- Jonathan “Jonny” Benton
- Dean Gary
- Hernando “Nando” Peña