Editor’s note: This story contains film spoilers.
The Watertown Daily Times sent retired Fort Drum Army Ranger Brian Eisch questions about his thoughts on the new documentary, “Father Soldier Son,” in which a New York Times film crew followed him and his family for nearly 10 years. He answered the questions from his home in Wisconsin.
Q: After all the filming and the recording of you and your family’s life over the years, was it emotional to see the finished product?
A: “The first time we watched it and about three times after, were extremely emotional. I think we cried from start to finish. We have rare footage that anyone that has lost a child would not normally have. We think the New York Times and Netflix did an amazing job with it. Well beyond any expectations.”
Q: Filmmakers followed your family quite closely. Was it difficult to live like that?
A: “We think we got used to the cameras quite quickly. Leslye (Davis) and Catrin (Einhorn) became part of the family quickly, so that made it much easier to pretend they weren’t there ‘filming.’”
Q: Is there a message that you feel other service members, and their families, can get out of the documentary?
A: “Initially I didn’t realize the ‘message.’ It took a few times watching it to realize I think it’s about resiliency and perseverance. The never-quit mentality of getting back up and keep moving forward.”
Q: What can you say about living in Northern New York? You and family seemed to be enjoying the outdoors up here.
A: “In the film, there’s shots of us fishing, those were up by Alexandria Bay. I’m an avid bass angler and the fishery is amazing and beautiful. As far as living in New York, you can keep the cost of living and the snow. We miss our Sandy Creek friends. They treated us like family.”
Q: Joey’s memory lives on in the annual wrestling tournament at Sandy Creek. That must be something close to your heart.
A: “The Sandy Creek community and especially the ‘Boylston Crew’ welcomed us with open arms. It was our wrestling family, and they honored Joey by naming their annual youth wrestling tournament the Joey Eisch Memorial Tournament. We only found it fitting to start an award to go with it. Each year, the team selects the wrestler that busts his butt all year, is a great team player, but just doesn’t win a whole lot, that was Joey, we call it the Biggest Heart Award. Bill Benedict does an amazing job announcing Joey’s remembrance and also had a plaque created to remember the awardeees.”
A: Our readers may be interested in what you, Maria and family are up to now.
A: “Jaxon is now 3 years old, Isaac is out of the Army and living near us in Casco, Wisconsin. I do tournament bass fishing, that is it, it’s my sanity. I stopped making bass baits as a business last year. My wife, Maria, works at the local bank and loves her coworkers especially her boss, Lisa.”