Rob Shallenberger does. He smiled and told me; “There is an event here in Utah called the Stadium of Fire. 4th of July celebration and every year they start this 4th of July celebration with this flyby of F16’s for anyone that’s been there. So, my brother and I are sitting in the stands and these jets come over and if you’ve ever been at a flyby when they go over you feel that rumble in your chest and it’s just an awesome feeling. These jets fly by the stadium of Fire and we felt that rumble and that roar. My brother and I looked at each other. Someday we are fly those jets over this stadium.”
Rob was going through a rough time in his life. “We are all going through something and as a teenager that was my time. I really had no direction. I had low self-esteem. It was time in my life where I just didn’t know what I was going to be doing with life. It was tough,” he said.
That event sparked a dream. “It was at that moment if you want to call if a ‘seed of a vision’ calls it whatever you want, but it was planted, and something changed in my life. Where I wasn’t even on track to graduate from high school at that point. Everything changed. I got laser focused and ask, how do you become a fighter pilot.”
He aimed high, and his dream became a reality. “I flew F16’s, T38’s, worked with Air Force One for a little while.” Come to find out that Rob was in the advance team before Air Force One goes anywhere. You’ll need to watch the entire interview for more details, but the Reader’s Digest version of what he did was; “You want to make sure that the President gets in and out. The idea is to have no news stories. No stair incidents. Nothing like that.”
One of his career highlights with the Air Force happened over Provo, Utah. Fifteen years later, in 2007. Rob got emotional as he told me; “Both my brother and I had the chance to fly by the Stadium of Fire. Him on the left side of the formation. Me on the right side. We both became F16 pilots. We flew over the stadium. Everyone is cheering in the stadium. We don’t hear any of that in the jet. You just hear whoosh. And after we had gone by the ground controller cam over the radio and said ‘Nice flyby. Perfect timing. congratulations Shallenberger’s.’ I remember chills up and down my arm and a tear in my eye. It really had been fifteen years to the day since we had sat in the stadium saying we are going to fly over the stadium someday.”
Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that enjoys an uplifting story.
Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com
You can also see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. or online at www.ABC4.com/Success