You Need To Hear What This Man Has To Say, Missoula

by Travis Mateer

By the end of this post I hope you are angry that I told this man–who you REALLY do need to hear from–not to bother submitting his opinion piece to local media.

Who am I talking about?

Before I answer that question, I’m going to string you along just a bit longer by explaining why this post wasn’t written two years ago.

It’s pretty simple. The humility of the Stevenson family, combined with my lack of due diligence as a citizen journalist, temporarily obscured the impressive catalogue of achievements Dr. Kenneth Stevenson has earned for himself.

Today, two years and twelve days since his son died in Missoula, I’m going to do my best to bring Dr. Stevenson out from obscurity in preparation for the day you WILL hear from him.

Let’s start off with a bang.

In 1979 (the year after I was born) Ken Stevenson was one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA) recognized for kicking ass in AT LEAST three of the following categories:

  • Business, economic, and/or entrepreneurial accomplishment
  • Political, legal, and/or government affairs
  • Academic leadership and/or accomplishment
  • Cultural achievement
  • Moral and/or environmental leadership
  • Contribution to children, world peace, and/or human rights
  • Humanitarian and/or voluntary leadership
  • Scientific and/or technological development
  • Personal improvement and/or accomplishment
  • Medical innovation

John Denver and Bill Clinton were two other notable TOYA awardees.

Let’s see, what else?

Following high school, Stevenson won a Congressional appointment to the Air Force Academy. It was the beginning of a fourteen-year Air Force career which saw Stevenson graduate as one of only five blacks in his class of almost 700.​

After pilot training, Stevenson was assigned to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) as a B-52 co-pilot and rapidly progressed to instructor-copilot one of only two In SAC to hold that position at that time. He volunteered for combat duty in Southeast Asia and amassed almost 1200 combat flying hours and 210 combat missions. He received ten Air Medals and three Distinguished Flying Crosses for his service. He also advanced to command his own B-52 crew at the age of 25 and was one of the youngest commanders in SAC.

Determined to improve himself academically, Stevenson was selected by the Air Force Academy to attend a Master’s program at the University of Pittsburgh and returned to his hometown. While he was enrolled in this program, the University administration recognized his diverse talents and (while he was still a full-time student) asked him to establish and teach an undergraduate course in Black Literature. He took on this responsibility in addition to serving as a Liaison Officer for the Air Force Academy. Even with this full schedule, he finished his Master of Arts in English, Cum Laude, in only nine months.

There’s more. Much more. And the synchronicities are ALL OVER this for me, like watching the series Carnivàle and having a little scene with a shroud placed over the body of “management” floor me because it’s a clear reference to the shroud of Turin.

Did I mention Dr. Kenneth Stevenson has done significant work on the shroud, has written several books, and that two of those books recently arrived at my studio by mail?

I’ll leave it there, for now.

Happy MLK day, Missoula!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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5 Responses to You Need To Hear What This Man Has To Say, Missoula

  1. Angela says:

    You would think it wouldn’t be hard to find a man with those achievements, especially when it’s a matter of life or death. I guess Google was an afterthought once they withdrew life support.

  2. J'Mar Shea says:

    Dad accomplished all of these things and more in the face of unbelievable blatant racism and racist policies. But he raised his children without instilling hatred or animus towards anyone. He served his country mightily. We had no idea what he was up against on a daily basis. To their credit, he and my mother kept the death threats from hate groups and individuals out of our impressionable minds. He accomplished what he set out to do. He has ALWAYS put his family first. All of these accomplishments and the numerous others pale in comparison to the fact that he continues to show up as a devoted husband, father and grandfather everyday. We love you Dad. What a privilege to celebrate a hero while he’s still with us. Happy MLK DAY.

  3. Dr Kenneth Stevenson says:

    Hmmm so why would I be expected to believe that they really couldn’t find family when the local county sheriff (30 minutes away on a good day) was at my door less than two hours after the dirty deed was done? (Oh BTW I live in the Central time zone) Or if it all went down according to the report given why did all authorities involved establish a virtual highway of lies in communicating with the family ? Why would the hospital initially deny that Sean was EVER there (when records confirm at least two visits) and yet contact a donor Hotline BEFORE THE ATTACK. Did I fail to mention that Sean was NOT a donor ? Oh Missoula there is so much more than these few facts. BUT, the question that I continue to ask is simply this: Is Travis Mateer aka Skink, the ONLY honest, caring person in all of Missoula? Surely of ALL the people involved in this travesty of justice there must be SOMEONE who would like to see the truth come out WITHOUT the need for a Nationwide media circus that would put Missoula on front street and NOT in a good way! More to come Missoula because I’m just getting warmed up. Thank you Travis for keeping Sean’s story alive.

    • I know we’ve discussed who could help your family understand what happened to Sean, and the nurse on duty for that floor of St. Pats would be someone I would REALLY like to speak with. I was told by a source that this nurse was fired after leaving the room before Sean was removed from life support because of her refusal to go along with what she knew was wrong. I was told this nurse was in her 50’s, short, with blond hair. My email is willskink at yahoo dot com if anyone has any relevant information.

      • Amen! I pray that she will read these words for it takes great character to do what she did in these circumstances. I know because I literally walked away from my chosen profession at the top of my game rather than to deny the truth to gain a man’s approval. Some day I will tell that story.

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