Looking at him at face value there is no earthly reason why Montana Esco should be alive. In the past two years the 25 year old Mississippi native has endured situations that would have been the end of many, but the fact that he is still here is a testament that his existence has a meaning we can all learn from.
I was first introduced to Esco through social media, and over the past couple of years I have seen him use his challenges in life to inspire others and show them what is possible. He’s quick to tell you that he’s not perfect, but he is work in progress that has a lot to share.
Esco became a father at 16, something that was a wake up for him in many ways. “It slowed me down for sure,” he says. “I was living the life of a grown-up at 16.” Instead of running from it, though, he told me it taught him a lesson. “Becoming a father so young gave me a sense of responsibility,” he says. Now the father of 5 children, Esco says he wants his children to know that he learned from his mistakes and never gave up—and neither should they.
Kicked out of Madison Central in Madison, MS just months before graduating, Esco says that where he is from has a great deal to do with the person he has become. “80% of the people I grew up with are either dead or in jail,” he told me. “Seeing my peers made me want to do things different.” That proved to be easier said than done.
Like all of us, Esco was not always so open to listening to his conscious and the voice of God that his mother had told him about. In April 2012 he was given a wake up call that put him in a situation where he couldn’t help but to pay attention. At the age of 23 his body betrayed him, shutting down and landing him on is back literally helpless in a hospital room. “I needed to slow down,” he told me, “and I think that was God’s way of letting me know I had to do it now before it was too late.” Little by little he was able to get his strength back and begin living his life again. “God sends things our way to test our faith,” Esco says. “He definitely got my attention.”
It seemed as though things were looking up for Montana Esco when 2013 came in, however, just days into the new year he was awaken out of his sleep into a situation that almost ended his life.
In what was an apparent burglary, Esco startled intruders in his home and was shot numerous times, left for dead. Surviving that situation was the beginning of a new chapter for the young man. “After that I had no doubt that God was real,” he told me. “He left me here for a reason. I think God has a plan for me, and I want to use the opportunity he has given me to help get other people’s attention.”
As has been his custom Montana took to social media with his story, even sharing pictures of his injuries. Thousands shared his testimony. “The response has been overwhelming,” he told me. ” People told me that my story changed their lives.” After the shooting he was thinking about retaliating against those involved but the situation taught him another way. “I feel blessed just to still be here,” he says. “I decided to let God handle the situation. I just have to work on me.”
Montana has begun speaking to groups about his story, and plans to visit schools in the near future with the message that you can’t give up on life. He is also working on an outline of a book that he hopes will also inspire others to see life as something precious. His message is clear: “You don’t want to take a day for granted. You never know what’s going to happen. Learn from every incident and try not to repeat your mistakes.”
To stay in touch with Montana Esco follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/montanaesco. You can also email him at email@example.com or call him at 1.747.777.ESCO (3726).