Kaery never really intended to become an expert self defense and firearms trainer. She was enjoying her life of being a mom when horrific event came to our hometown. In 2005 a man named Joseph E Dunkin III horribly kidnapped and killed children (and adults) who were playing in their yard on their trampoline that happened to be visible from I-90. This event changed her life…

(It is too gruesome to discuss here but if you would like to know, click here [be prepared to be sick]). The man who committed this crime was known to police, and had a GPS tracking device on him prior to his arrest. The GPS tracking put him in the exact location where Kaery and her kids were regularly taking music lessons, and he had been scoping out the Kindermusic class for weeks.

Thinking through what could have happened with her own kids, Kaery realized she did not have the skills nor the knowledge to protect herself or her kids. Upon research, she discovered that most self defense training is geared for one person getting away from a bad guy. But what happens when the a mom and her children encounter a bad guy? How does one defend against that?

Kaery looked for answers…

She has a Masters in Teaching degree from Whitworth University, so she knew how to find the answers she needed. She read books by Jeff Cooper, Massad Ayoob, Paxton Quigily (Armed and Female) and other books. It was apparent that she needed more than what just books could offer.

Kaery discovered that even with she read her question had not been answered.

How does a mom defend her kids when attacked?

She decided to train with the masters of the firearms world to seek their knowledge and expertise. She trained with Clint Smith at Thunder Ranch, Massad Ayoob, Tom Givins, Dave Spalding, Andrew Branka, John and Vicki Farnam, Bob Smith, Ed Santos, multiple NRA trainers, and The Well Armed Women. The answer came from the joined training and knowledge gained from these incredible people.

Most guns are made for men. Finding the correct firearm to use was the next challenge, so after years of experimenting with multiple guns and carry options, Kaery found several different set-ups that work best for women. Now, Kaery passionately educates women and men what she has learned through years of research, training, and lessons from the industry masters.

Kaery is a great communicator. When she was in the Coast Guard, she was a Robert A Perchard Trophy recipient (the youngest ever), and was chosen by the Air Station Commander to be the Coms Coordinator and Community Outreach Coordinator when the Blue Angles came to town. (This was is Traverse City, Michigan). She received advanced placement for her teaching in the Gifted and Talented program at Whitworth college. She is never short positivity or enthusiasm. Over the past few years, she has developed a curriculum to take any individual from knowing nothing about firearm defense use to a person that has the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about how to protect themselves.

She does this without the attitude and bravado that permeates the gun world. Kaery brings professional skills and attitudes into her training so that anyone who wants to know more can get answers. For women, this means knowing what firearm to purchase, and not taking the advice of the Richard Cranium behind the gun counter that wants to sell you a gun you do not need. Kaery has found a way to empower families to defend themselves and teaches it to as many people as possible.


I’m passionate about continuing my own journey as a firearms student, and pursue learning from the best our industry has to offer as frequently as I can.  Below are a few photographs from training with nationally recognized instructors, across many disciplines.  In addition to those pictured below, here is a short list of my training from the last couple years.

  • Andrew Branca – Law of Self Defense Instructor Development Course
  • Clint Smith Thunder Ranch – Home and Vehicle Defense with Tactical Trauma
  • Clint Smith Thunder Ranch Defensive Handgun
  • Carrie Lightfoot – Well Armed Woman Instructor Course
  • William Aprill April Risk Consulting Unthinkable
  • Dave Spaulding – Handgun Combatives, & Vehicle Combatives
  • Chief Range Safety Officer – NRA Certified
  • Range Safety Officer – NRA Certified 
  • Refuse to be a Victim – NRA Certified Instructor
  • Pistol – NRA Certified Instructor
  • Shotgun – NRA Certified Instructor
  • Home Firearm Safety – NRA Certified Instructor
  • Personal Protection Inside the Home – NRA Certified Instructor
  • Personal Protection Outside the Home – NRA Certified Instructor


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