Missoula float center looks to raise funds for veteran therapy sessions
When the Enlyten Lab Float Center opened its doors two years ago in downtown Missoula, founder Matt Gangloff had a vision.
He wanted to offer fellow veterans and their spouses a free therapy session in one of his isolation tanks – a therapy that has helped him confront his own combat-related stresses.
“The first time I floated was the first time I ever got a look into what’s going on in my mind – the behind-the-scenes stuff I wasn’t paying attention to,” Gangloff said. “Ninety percent of it is made up stuff that I developed at the most traumatic point in my life. It doesn’t serve me anymore.”
To bring that therapy to others, Enlyten Lab and it’s customers will donate up to $5,000 next month when the Red Willow Learning Center in Missoula launches its Triple Your Impact campaign.
For every dollar donated, Red Willow will offer two through it’s Heroes Therapeutic Outreach Program, one that offers alternative wellness services for veterans, first responders, law enforcement officers and caregivers.
“Red Willow has identified two big donors who have each come in and put in $20,000 apiece toward a matching gift,” Gangloff said. “Every dollar you put in gets matched with two dollars.”
The concept behind Gangloff’s business is partially rooted in his personal story. He joined the Army at the age of 17, so young his mother had to sign the enlistment papers.
His first combat tour in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division left him feeling accomplished. His second tour, however, left him questioning the value of his service in the Middle East.
The PTSD became apparent by the time he left the service. Gangloff suffered from anxiety, depression and insomnia. He gained weight, struggled with alcohol and suicidal thoughts.
He knows other veterans have grappled with similar issues.
“I’ve been trying to get this vets scholarship stood up and running for almost two years now,” he said. “It’s unbelievable how hard it is to raise the money for something like that. With the Red Willow campaign, you’ll be able to walk into my place and if you’re registered for the Heroes Therapeutic Outreach Program, you’ll float for free.”
Gangloff’s latest attempt to establish a therapeutic scholarship for veterans isn’t his first. When he opened Enlyten Lab in February 2017, he raised roughly $2,500 to offer 50 float sessions to veterans.
The campaign netted less money than he’d hoped, so he offered the services for free. While that’s not great for an upstart business, it falls in line with Gangloff’s personal philosophy and desire to help other veterans.
“It’s something we’ve been doing pro bono on the side, but the demand for it is unbelievable,” he said. “We’ve got a lot demand from vets, but there’s a lot of people who’ve been looking for the opportunity to sponsor a vet to do this.”
The Red Willow campaign kicks off on Sept. 27 and runs through the end of November.