Jon Hesse shrugs his fishing vest over his right shoulder on a Friday evening,
bidding farewell to the work week from the banks of the Yellowstone River—a
task so simple, yet something he couldn’t have managed mere months ago.
In October 2016, Hesse underwent extensive surgery at Livingston HealthCare
to reattach his bicep and rebuild his rotator cuff. He is quick to credit
his new freedom of motion to the Livingston HealthCare orthopedics team.
“We’re lucky to have a hospital like this in our community,”
says Hesse. “Not many communities have a hospital of this quality. “
With the aid of his crutches (he lost his leg to bone cancer at age 22)
Hesse maneuvers over the guardrail of East River Road at Carter’s
Bridge with ease, fly rod in hand. “Over the years my shoulder has
taken a lot of abuse,” he says.
The 67-year-old lawyer has always led an active lifestyle, be it bicycling,
kayaking, fishing or—most dear of all—skiing. After graduating
from law school in San Francisco in 1984, he moved straight to Montana
in pursuit of pristine powder. It was paramount both physically and spiritually
that he be back outside with as much mobility as possible.
Livingston HealthCare’s pair of orthopedic practitioners, Dr. Gregg
Schellack, DO and Russell Saari, PA-C are two worldly men from rural western
backgrounds. Both served in the U.S. Navy, where they cultivated their
medical skills stateside and abroad.
Schellack is a Montana native. Born in Butte and raised on a ranch in Dillon,
he understands the pace of Big Sky Country. He first met Saari at the
Naval Hospital Lemoore in California where they helped build the largest
orthopedic practice in the U.S. Navy.
“Every day we focus on doing the best we can,” says Schellack.
“So when we get somebody like Jon’s case, it really helps
us be proud of what we are able to do for people. It makes us smile and
makes us happy that we’ve chosen this as a profession.”
Saari, a native of Colorado and Idaho, brings 28 years of orthopedic experience
to Livingston HealthCare from his time in the service. Livingston proved
the perfect place to settle down, as he and his wife prefer the small
“Being in a place where the community can become a part of me, that
is very important to me,” Saari says of Livingston. “It feels
like you make a difference. Your splash is bigger in a small pond. The
opportunity to serve people you can become closer to is nice.”
Leslie Wegner, RN is clinic nurse for Saari and Schellack. She has called
Park County home since the beginning—having grown up in Gardiner.
“So many of faces that I see come through the clinic are faces that
I know,” she says. “You don’t meet a stranger in the
clinic—if you do, they aren’t a stranger for long.”
Hesse is on the road to musculoskeletal rehabilitation. Six months of physical
therapy awaited him after his surgery, but he’s since readily met
the challenge and is growing stronger everyday.
“I’m eternally grateful to Dr. Schellack ’s work and
the staff’s work to restore my ability to do sports,” he says.
“Having my shoulder repaired, and being able to do all those things
I love to do is priceless to me.”
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