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Five Under 35: Desiree Gaines - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Five Under 35: Desiree Gaines

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Self proclaimed “military brat” Desiree grew up not having a place she claimed as her hometown. Self proclaimed “military brat” Desiree grew up not having a place she claimed as her hometown.
Desiree recently started a new job with the Center for Mental Health, working with children at Chief Joseph Elementary School in the Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (or CSCT) program. Desiree recently started a new job with the Center for Mental Health, working with children at Chief Joseph Elementary School in the Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (or CSCT) program.
GREAT FALLS -

Wednesday night was the first time in 486 days that Desiree Gaines and her children wrapped their arms around husband and father MSgt William Gaines with Malmstrom Air Force Base security forces.  Deployments are nothing new for the family. Self proclaimed “military brat” Desiree grew up not having a place she claimed as her hometown.

That has changed.

“We got married right out of high school, we were just 18,” explains Desiree. 

Malmstrom Air Force Base was the first assignment for the newlyweds. They spent five years in Great Falls before traveling around to other bases.

“We requested to come back to Great Falls. We knew this was going to be a place we wanted to retire at and we just got so plugged into the community, our kids really love it here.”

This time around, they’ve been back for six years with no intention of leaving.  This is where William would like to retire from his military career. 

While William was deployed, Desiree was very busy. Along with raising an 11 year-old and a 12-year-old, Desiree recently started a new job with the Center for Mental Health, working with children at Chief Joseph Elementary School in the Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (or CSCT) program. Prior to accepting her current position, Desiree worked for six years with Malmstrom Air Force Base active duty airmen and their families.

“Provide intensive therapy in the social setting, in the school setting for children. So we not only pull the for individual therapy, we can do family therapy as well.  And then we’re there for that no the spot behavior modification in the classroom, so we’re not only a resource and support for the kids, but we try to help with the teachers as well to help the child integrate,” Desiree said of her current position with the Center for Mental Health.

She is passionate about meeting people where they’re at in life.  She provides a listening ear and action to help. 

For the past two years, the 35-year-old has served as the president of the Great Falls Counselor’s Association, which provides monthly training opportunities for local counselors and students. She is also part of a research team for the Suicide Prevention Task Force in Cascade County. Desiree helps run a counseling ministry at Victory Church and established their Celebrate Recovery group.

“Support people through their recovery process with a faith-based spiritual mentality in mind.  We see a lot of people struggling with that and we have such a need in Great Falls, so we opened that up,” Desiree explained.

Her passion for people and improving her community not only drives what she does everyday, but also her plans for the future..

Desiree has also earned an MBA (Master of Business Administration) while William was deployed. She adds the MBA to her Master of Social Work (MSW). 

“Ideally longterm goal for me, I’d like to open a nonprofit faith-based mental health center.”

In the meantime, her MBA will come in handy as she joins a friend in opening a maternity clothing business in Great Falls. She saw a need in the community and stepped up to meet it.

Whether she realizes it or not, Desiree is a powerful example of what she says is great about Great Falls…

“There’s a need and people are trying to meet it and everybody is unique in the way they’re trying to meet it and that’s only going to bring greatness to our community.” 

“Because we are small in number or small is geographical area, doesn’t mean we’re limited by what we can do and who we can reach.”

And Desiree says there is something special about Great Falls.

“But what our community has to offer in value is far greater than any restaurant or material thing can bring into the community.”

More information on the maternity clothing company: Lat 47 Montana https://www.facebook.com/lat47montana/ .  

Celebrate Recovery information: www.victorychurchgf.com 


Four years ago, KRTV anchor Shannon Newth started the "Five Under 35" awards as a way to encourage the community through recognizing those whose attitudes and actions are helping Great Falls grow and improve. As journalists, we want to be part of facilitating change and finding solutions for community issues, one of those being attracting and retaining young professionals. 

More than 50 people submitted nominations this year. A committee narrowed the nominees down to the final five who not only are doing great things, but also have an infectious spirit and positive attitude about living and working in Great Falls.

Our first recipient this year was Nichole Griffith, the director of Victim-Witness Assistance Services (click here for article/video).

Our second recipient was Kellie Pierce of the Downtown Great Falls Association (click here for article/video).

Our third recipient was Rory Schulte of Schulte’s 38th Street Store and Coffeehouse (click here for article/video).

Our fourth recipient was Jamie Darko, a passionate volunteer in the community (click here for article/video).

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