The greatest day I ever had working at The Silent Partner Marketing wasn’t when we drove a tank across a mountainous shooting range.
It wasn’t when I got to fire a Browning M1919 machine gun with a bunch of cops at EOPG in Texas.
It wasn’t when I got to watch my boss be nearly drowned into a pool while strapped into a helo-dunker. (Most people might fantasize about watching their boss be put in serious danger, but most people don’t have as cool of a job as I do) If you haven’t seen that video, here’s a link.
My favorite day working at The Silent Partner wasn’t when I got to go on a midnight hog hunt in the backcountry trails of Jacksboro, Texas. It wasn’t shooting the Duck Boat tours in Boston for Monaco Ford’s ‘The Real Man Show’, or even riding 120mph down a Texas highway in a pickup truck simulating a high-speed pursuit.
My favorite day in my past two years here was sitting down with World War II Army veteran, Aldo Provera.
Kyle had gotten called to an emergency meeting with a client and I was called upon to produce the segment. Our friends at INFORCE had been striving to interview as many WWII veterans as possible, knowing that most are in their 90’s.
When I arrived at his house in Hartford, (which he informed me that his family had owned for 90 years, a home in which he refused to consider moving out of), I immediately felt in the presence of an old friend. While my cinematographer was finding a place to setup for the interview, Aldo began entertaining me with incredible stories of his time in the Army.
Not only has this gentleman served his country, but he played an integral role in saving many of his brother’s lives. He fought Nazis in the Battle of the Bulge. He bunkered down in a destroyed village, shielding himself from mortar rounds, cooking what he could salvage for his fellow soldiers. And when things went south, he and members of his platoon were taken as prisoners of war, where they were kept locked up until they were eventually rescued by American troops toward the end of the war.
Growing up, I had many members of my family who served in the military, specifically the Navy. Unfortunately I was never able to ask questions and hear stories from their time at war. When I sat with Aldo, although I had just met him, I felt that in that moment we were as close as family. I still look back at the level of respect and awe that I felt, knowing that I would never have to face times as difficult as he and his brothers had. It nearly brought me to tears.
Seeing the emotions that he went through while he relived those moments, times he was sure he would meet his end, but then finding the strength to survive… seeing how excited he was to be able to tell his story to someone whose generation is the future… this experience stands alone.
My job allows for a lot of amazing opportunities. But one that will never be topped was the few hours that I spent with this incredible American hero.
I’d like to leave you with a quote. One that resonates throughout time and will surely prove itself to be true again in the future.
“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”
Written by Dan McIsaac