Many Hats Bret Carpenter

The Many Hats of Bret Carpenter

The Many Hats of Stockman

Our new blog series, The Many Hats of Stockman, introduces you to people who lead interesting lives both inside and outside of Stockman. Those who give of their time and talents to their communities are the back bone of our great state.

Bret Carpenter

Bret Carpenter, the President of our Lewistown bank, is a cornerstone in his community.

Bret is the type of person who doesn’t wait around for change to come, instead he gets involved. Lewistown which is located in the center of the state and surrounded by the Judith, Little Belts, and Big Snowy Mountain ranges, faces similar challenges to many rural Montana communities:  attracting and keeping businesses that support the local economy, an aging population, and an outflow of young adults.

Bret and Bill - 65th Anniversary

Bret is someone who wears many hats. When asked what he does for “fun” when he is not in the bank, what he said was eye-opening, to say the least.  He’s a volunteering machine! Here are just a few of the hats he wears:


“Growing up here, I have had numerous needs for local health care as a kid, parent, and adult. It seems like they know us on a first name basis! As the area’s largest employer, I also know several employees there, and felt honored to be invited to join the board of directors… something I always wanted to consider if asked. Getting to know some of the providers also made me realize the expectations they are under and have for the general good of our community that many are unaware of. Without a hospital in a community, it would be difficult to attract new families, employers, retirees, etc. to this area. Keeping an open hospital is critical to our community’s viability. I am currently on the Finance Committee.”


“I have been on this board a long time… since it started nearly 20 years ago (got off for a while when I was ‘termed out’). I am currently the chair, and we focus on growing economic development in Fergus County. As a volunteer board, with no real budget or assets, it is difficult to accomplish much without the help of the general community and other entities. We are working on workforce issues, business park finalization, and recruiting a new business to Lewistown that may create nearly 60 jobs. Our board is from the private sector.”

Bret Carpenter - Grants


“I was invited to this board in recent years, along with other volunteers. Monthly, we review requests from area groups for financial support, funded by the earnings we receive from past donations and endowments left under our care. There is never enough money to go around, but good causes typically receive some sort of financial award from us, assuming they are eligible. We also fund area scholarships to graduating high school seniors, and existing college students.”

Bret Carpenter - Lewistown Parade

Bret summed up our visit with these words of wisdom: “I believe the above groups do make a difference, and if no one volunteered for similar groups like these in our area, we would be just another shrinking community not trying to stay viable and vibrant. Little successes sometimes lead to bigger rewards… but may take a few years to realize them.

Lewistown has a new ‘buzz’ to it recently… more younger couples with little kids moving here (some grew up here), and finding employment. Lifestyle is a sought after asset, and found here. My kids have even told me in recent months when they return to visit that they’re proud of how Lewistown has gotten more progressive than when they grew up here. I feel this is a result partly of all the area volunteers working toward improving the community, with results finally being felt.”

We tip our hat to Bret and the many people who make our communities better places to live, work, and play.

Bank Disclosures

Sarah K. Banking at Stockman Bank

She’s Only Five and Already Has the Wisdom of a Super Saver!

Teach Kids to Save is celebrated today, April 12. One of our newest Stockman customers, Sarah K., agreed to an interview on why she recently opened a savings account at only five years old.

Sarah K. Banking at Stockman Bank

So, Sarah, we understand you opened a savings account. How old are you?
Yes I did. I’m five years old and I’m in Kindergarten.

Why did you open a savings account at your age?
Because it (a savings account) makes me happy and helps me to save money.

Why do you think it’s important to save money?
So I can buy things.

What would you tell other kids your age they should do with money?
They should (open a savings account) because they might just be amazed.

Should they have a savings account?

Do you have any savings goals?
Yes, I am trying to save for a robot unicorn. It has wheels and can roll around. It costs lots of money.

Do you have an allowance?
Yes. If I do some of my jobs, I get some of the money. If I do all of my jobs, I get all of the money.

How much do you get for your allowance?
Lots of money, like $30. I have to wash dishes, make my bed and clean my room.
(Side note: Sarah’s mom emailed me this after our call. “I heard that Sarah said her allowance is $30 a week, she wishes! It’s closer to $3 a week.” To a 5 year old, $3.00 seems like $30.00. We know this will change when Sarah is a teenager.)

What do you think of when you hear the words

  • Cash? Money
  • Saving? A lot of something!
  • Rich or wealthy? I don’t know what that means.

When you get older, how do you think having a savings account might help you?
We would have asked Sarah that question, but her friend arrived and they needed to play, which is why a savings account is a great thing for anyone to have. Put your money to work for you so you can play when your friends show up.

We want to thank Sarah, her mom, and dad for allowing us to interview her. We hope this blog inspires you to start a savings account or encourage a child to start saving today, and remember that the minimum balance of $100 is waived for those under 18.

For more information about Teach Kids to Save go to and click on the links.

Little Boy Saving Money in Piggy Bank

Bank Disclosures



Carol Holman - Volunteer

Celebrating National Volunteer Week with Carol Holman

By Carol Holman, AVP Real Estate Loan Officer, Hamilton and Missoula, MT

In honor of National Volunteer Week, we are happy to share a few outstanding Stockman volunteers with you. During the week of April 7 through April 13, you will be seeing individuals on our Facebook page and our Instagram page who have gone above and beyond. Many Stockman employees work tirelessly to better their communities in small and large ways. The employees we will be featuring this week live their lives in the service of others.

As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

To kick off the week, we invite you to enjoy a recent interview with Carol Holman, AVP, Real Estate Loan Officer in Hamilton.

Carol Holman - Volunteer

Why is volunteering important to you?

It is important to me to because our communities are only as strong as the people who live in them. If I can make someone’s life better by giving of myself and that improves another person’s life, it is priceless.

Which organizations are you actively volunteering?

Meals on Wheels (delivery driver), Three Mile Fire Department (FF/EMT, Board Member), Make A Wish (Wish grantor), Rotary (President Elect –President as of 07/19, Board Member), BV Chamber of Commerce-Board Member, National Fallen Firefighters (Escort families of Fire Fighters who die in line of duty every year), Team member for Relay for Life Bitterroot.

What motivated you to choose these nonprofits?

I choose to work with all these organizations because it allows me to give to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Making a difference in a senior citizen’s life by simply delivering a meal and visiting for a few minutes is extremely rewarding. Helping an ill child to smile, laugh and forget for a short time how sick they are is priceless. Volunteering in my local community as a FF/EMT allows me to help neighbors to feel cared for and feel safer in a bad situation. Holding their hand and comforting them in their time of greatest need is why I volunteer.

I am honored every year to have the privilege to stand beside a Fallen Brother or Sister’s family in Emmitsburg, MD and show them that I, along with others, will never forget their loved one. Raising money in the Relay for Life to help friends and neighbors battle cancer is so small an act. This event helps to accomplish big changes in people’s lives.

Carol Holman - Volunteer

What has been your favorite memory volunteering?

It is hard to choose, but I would say the times I mentored children through Big Brothers & Sisters (Missoula) and Companions for Children in North Dakota. Helping a child blossom into a beautiful young person and seeing them believe in themselves is the greatest reward a mentor can ever achieve.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced while volunteering?

Having enough time to give to all the above, I wish I had more time to give back to others.

How has volunteering changed you?

It has made me a more caring person.

Helping others has helped me to realize how much we count on each other for both physical and emotional support. I feel like it has made my life more complete and fulfilling. It is a privilege to have had the opportunity to be involved in the lives of  such great people. I treasure every moment I can continue to make a difference simply by caring.

Carol Holman - Volunteer

We are proud to spotlight Carol Holman. Her service and commitment to the many organizations she is involved with exemplify what it means to be a volunteer. Since we last spoke with her, Carol was named Volunteer of the Year from the Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Happy National Volunteer week, Carol! Your commitment to community makes all of us proud to have you on the Stockman team.

Bank Disclosures