Dave Slone was born in Alaska as one of 15 children. Life tested him early on when his father, along with one of his siblings, passed away when during a fishing accident. Dave was 8 years old at the time. During the Vietnam War, he volunteered and served in the Army’s elite Ranger unit. During one memorable incident, his helicopter was shot down by machine gun fire. He was the only one to have survived, and doesn’t remember much besides waking up in the hospital with everyone else gone.
Settling in North Dakota, he managed to evade some of the protesting that returning veterans were often subjected to. The one struggle he did encounter was not regarding the war, but life and career choices. Many men feel the pressure to serve as the breadwinner and often have to choose between a job that they inherently enjoy and a job that allows a comfortable life for others. Dave was no exception, and eventually opted for the latter. Although he excelled at the act of fundraising, he often felt “fake” doing it, and would have preferred to be recognized for his writing rather than his ability to generate donations. That being said, Dave still remains in contact with his son and is very grateful to have his family. Staying true to his passions, Dave has recently begun writing. His most recent work, “Rose Beach”, centers on an individual suffering from Parkinson’s disease and how that affects everyone around him.
One interesting tidbit Dave had to share was that, even to this day, people his age come up to him and tell him that they regret not serving in the military. The reason why is because since the Vietnam War ended, there never was another opportunity to test both their mettle and manhood. According to Dave, having bullets fired at you is an experience you simply cannot replicate any other way- you have either experienced or you haven’t.
In terms of relationships, one guy that Dave maintained a friendship with a long time was a gentleman named Michael that also did fundraising. Michael, as Dave put it, was “a Jay Gatsby of sorts… he invented himself from practically nothing”. Dave admired Michael’s “sincere interest in people”, and saw firsthand how sincerity and being considerate made him a success. Michael passed away a couple of weeks ago.
The way Dave has pushed through various setbacks in his life is nothing less than inspiring. Dave was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s as well as cancer. He is also legally blind. Nevertheless, he continues to live a life of dignity and continues to chase his passion. As he says, “life can seem hopeless, but you just have to push through”. Dave’s advice to any young man aspiring to make his way in the world is as follows: “just be honest with yourself”.