Growing up in the foothills of Mt. Hood, the forest was her playground and most days she could be found plinking pinecones from the trees in the “backyard” (forest), hunting with her grandfather, or sending the occasional warning shot to the bear who decided to wander into the barn.
Eventually she ventured across the country to New York City where she attended college. Her Pro 2nd Amendment belief and experience was, shall we say, not well received. She was a long way from the big woods and to the big city folk, bears were in the zoo, not in the barn pestering the horses and not chasing 10-year-old girls!
Eventually she returned to Oregon, and after a few scary encounters, decided to revisit her personal safety plan. A friend gave her the gift of a CHL class and a day on the range to “go blasting”. This friend set her up at the firing line bench, laid out a handful of firearms, showed her how to load mags, how to hold a pistol, aim, and shoot. Then this friend walked away to the other end of the range to shoot a different set of targets with bigger toys. She was left alone.
Because of her experiences, Melissa continually seeks out training and educational opportunities. It is her passion to grow in her shooting and share what she learns with others. She has heart for new shooters, especially women. “I want to empower women to learn to shoot, to be safe, and not be afraid to pick up a firearm.” Melissa is patient with new shooters. As an example, she recently coached her niece, who had never touched a firearm before, through passing the Army qualifications. Melissa works to develop knowledge blocks, starting with the fundamentals and safety, then added shooting and skill development in both pistols and long guns.
Melissa spends much of her limited free time working at the range as a certified NRA Range Safety Officer. She holds additional NRA certifications in Pistol and “Refuse to be a Victim”. She has current training in Basic First Aid, CPR, AED, and Bleeding Control. She has earned her Project Appleseed Riflemen designation, which required a rigorous shooting qualification based in traditional rifle marksmanship. She regularly shoots in the local competitions for IDPA, USPSA, and Speed Steel.
Aside from shooting sports, Melissa has over 20 years’ experience in health care finance and information technology. She loves to kayak, quilt, and dabble in photography. She holds an Amateur Radio Extra Class license and is a volunteer examiner.