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Montana woman named a CNN Hero

Tescha Hawley
Tescha Hawley, CEO, Day Eagle Hope Foundation

A Montana woman, and member of the Gros Ventre Tribe, is one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes for 2023.

Yellowstone Public Radio’s Orlinda Worthington shares her story.

Tescha Hawley lives near Harlem, just north of the Fort Belknap Reservation where she grew up. It’s a remote part of northeast Montana, 40 miles south of the Canadian border. Her journey to helping others began during a difficult time for her personally.

“Back in 2017, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I quickly realized that our worlds don’t communicate in the same way when it comes to healthcare,” Hawley said.

 The lifesaving treatment she needed several times a month was 200 miles away.

“Transportation in our community is a huge barrier.”

After her recovery, she started the Day Eagle Hope Foundation to help alleviate barriers for others.

“There was a missing link in the servies between our reservation and between our community and the major hospitals in the state of Montana and I decided to really look at patient navigation and to connect these two worlds together so we could better understand each other,” Hawyley said.

Hawley began the foundation with her own money during Covid 19. She now writes grants for her foundation, and has expanded services outside of healthcare.

“I received 250-thousand dollars over the next 2 years to deliver non processed, traditional, organic food, from our farmers and ranchers locally. That’s both Indian and non indian farmers and ranchers.”

When Hawley first learned she’d been named a CNN Top Ten Hero, she tried to keep it quiet.

“ I just wanted to traditionally, humbly go about my business, do the work that needs to be done. And It wasn't until they explained to me that this could expose our work to other funders, donors, which will in turn help my community. So. You know, when I win, my whole community wins.”

You can help Hawley win by voting at CNN-heroes-dot com ( through December 5th.

All the Top Ten Heroes will be honored live on CNN on December 10th.


Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.