He’d always heard his father talking about how fortunate they were to be American, but young Bob Vincent never fully understood why. That changed when he was 10 years old.
From the time he was just 6 months old, Bob made an annual trip to Hungary with his parents, who were born and raised there. Bob’s father had fled his homeland on a moment’s notice. It was during the revolution in 1956, against the Communist regime. The Russians regularly executed any dissenters.
He was just twenty years old when Russian soldiers showed up at his workplace looking for him. Bob’s father, alerted by friends, leapt out a window and ran for his life. He kept running until he reached America, where he promptly joined the United States Army.
Bob’s parents met years later, when his father returned to visit. The young couple made their way back to the United States and began their family. Though firmly ensconced in America, they never forgot their family in Hungary.
“We would bring items there that we take for granted here – shampoo, toilet paper and such,” remembers Bob. That was his first glimpse into the disparity between his life, and his Hungarian family’s life.
Bob Vincent’s true lesson came when he was ten years old.
He was a young boy doing what young boys do – running. It was an airport in Hungary, and the Russian guards still hadn’t managed to appreciate freedom, or youth. Bob attempted to run past one guard, and was introduced to the sensation of being “clotheslined.”
With one swift move, the guard jerked his arm out, catching the boy in his throat. Bob staggered for a moment before he was yanked up by his shirt, and came face-to-face with the terrifying, armed guard yelling at him.
He never ran in the airport again.
“That was my big eye-opener as a kid,” he recalls.
From then on Bob felt a heightened awareness of how lucky he was. He began appreciating freedoms so often taken for granted; there is no risk of going to jail in America, simply for speaking your mind. There is no fear of being executed for dissenting with the government, and there is no shortage of toiletries.
His curiosity grew with him. Bob began asking questions of his parents – questions about his family history. That’s how learned his grandfather had died in a Siberian prison camp during WWII, and that his grandmother lost many members of her family.
His appreciation for all America offers swelled within him, and he carried that awareness into his life.
He worked hard at his studies, securing internships with top companies while still in college. Just a few months before college graduation, he had 12 interviews scheduled with top companies – all in the same day.
He was dressed and ready to go. It was a beautiful fall day, warm and sunny. It was September 11, 2001. The largest terrorist attack in this nation’s history destroyed lives and crippled companies.
With the nation reeling from the terrorist attacks that day, companies canceled interviews and he graduated with no job prospect.
Bob Vincent rallied himself along with the rest of the country and found his footing in the corporate IT world. He could have remained on that path, secure in his career and settled in his routine, but Bob followed his heart instead.
He’d always had a passion for video work. So much so, that he often turned his family’s home into a studio while his parents were not home. One of his original shooting sessions – Bob’s version of the hit Tv show Cops – was so realistic that the real police showed up.
This passion, though buried beneath corporate responsibility, still smoldered. So when a chance meeting lead him to Texas on a work project, Bob seized the opportunity to follow his heart and left the corporate world to start his own company.
It was a huge leap. Bob’s nerves jangled but he stayed the course. He met Steve Cochran, a country singer who’d walked away from a promising career to join the Marines. A severe injury during his second deployment left Steve paralyzed. The combat veteran struggled with his own uncertainty, but fought back, and experienced a somewhat miraculous recovery.
Bob and Steve became friends, and Bob donated his expertise to his new friend, shooting video for him. They decided to post one video to MySpace, and the right people took notice.
Less than 6 months after making that bold leap from corporate life to entrepreneurship, Bob Vincent secured a job with Disney, shooting videos for a top country band, Rascall Flatts.
His tenacity and talent had paid off. Once more, Bob was in a lane he could have chosen to remain in, building his financial portfolio along with his professional success – but he followed his friend Steve to an event packed with veterans, and decided to shift his path again.
Bob Vincent met one veteran after another.
He listened to their stories. He learned from them, about the enormous sacrifices our freedom is built upon. It was another wakeup call.
Those that defend our country, take that oath – They’re always there to make sure we have freedom, and we don’t have to worry
One event lead to another. Bob was a willing passenger on Fate’s train as it carried him into the paths of more people doing more extraordinary work, and he was hooked. He began using his talent to create video and marketing tools for non-profits dedicated to the military. Reel Heroes Media took shape, and now shines a spotlight on stories Bob knows need to be told.
The entrepreneurial path is not an easy one. Bob has his own share of mishaps and mistakes in his arsenal of stories. But no challenge was ever stronger than his own will to succeed in a life filled with meaning, both personally and professionally. He is one of the best-kept secrets in the business, as his work is outshined only by his indomitable spirit and welcoming smile.
Now Bob Vincent is ready to help other aspiring entrepreneurs interested in video production.
A visit to his website offers a path to contact him, and he’s happy to offer advice to any information seekers.
The American Dream is alive and well, and Bob Vincent is living it. Reel Heroes Media is a dream come true for Bob, and he feels lucky to live in a country that allowed him the opportunity to catch his dream.
I’ve had dark days, but if you’re persistent and work hard – that’s what’s great about this country – there’s nothing you can’t do; You’ve just got to do it