A fallen Marine’s brother is making a film to collect people’s memories of him in order to tell his life story to others so that he will never be forgotten.
Sgt. Dan Patron was an explosive ordnance disposal technician who died during a 2011 deployment to Helmand province in Afghanistan. He was assigned to 8th Engineer Support Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was 26-years-old.
Patron’s older brother, Matthew, is a filmmaker. While he grew up alongside Patron, he recognized that once he joined the Corps, he had other brothers in his life. He decided to tell the story about Patron’s other brothers in a new film called “Collecting Sgt. Dan.”
“This is the story of Dan’s other brothers, the lives he saved, my struggle to live in a world without him, and a community shaken by the end of his beautiful life,” he wrote on his Kickstarter page. Kickstarter is a website people use to raise money to fund creative projects.
Matthew launched the Kickstarter project in October with a goal of $20,000 to help fund the travel and production fees associated with making the film. His is working to get the film distributed on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon as well as Blu-ray and DVD. He raised more than $14,000 in less than two weeks. He also plans to show it in a theater on his brother’s birthday.
Patron’s wife, Cody, said Matthew began documenting the memories fellow Marines had of her husband as a way to deal with the grief of losing his younger brother. She began helping to link Matthew up with some of Patron’s friends from the Corps, she said. Matthew also interviewed Cody to gather her memories of his brother.
Matthew’s little girl had the chance to meet Patron before he died, but his son never did, Cody said.
“I thought it was a great idea because it’s something that he’ll be able to show his kids and I’ll be able to show my family,” she said.
Several Marines have shared their memories of Patron, Cody said. Matthew has visited Camp Lejeune, where his brother was based.
Cody said it’s only appropriate for Matthew to call the Marines in the film Patron’s “other brothers” because he thought of them as family. He would’ve done anything for them, she said. And in the warzone, that translated to helping to save their lives on the battlefield.
“His partners got his legs blown off — Dan saved him,” Cody said. “Now the guy he saved has two kids. He’s thankful every day.”
Cody said she hopes her husband’s memory is carried forward, and that when people see the film, the remember the service members still going over to Afghanistan and the families that wait for them back home.