A Father’s Legacy: How Jacob Centeno Turned Grief into a Beacon of Resilience and Storytelling


The influence of a father in a man’s life is profound, often setting the stage for his journey ahead. For Jacob Centeno, this influence came in the form of a last letter from his father, Senior Chief Petty Officer Dan Healy, a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan during Operation Red Wing, as depicted in the movie ‘Lone Survivor’. Jacob’s story, woven around this poignant letter, is a narrative of resilience, transformation, and the power of storytelling. Seven days before his tragic passing, Dan Healy wrote to his son:


Thanks for the email. I was really happy to get it. Whenever you get your hands out of the cast, I’d like to receive another one. Like I said, I was very happy to hear that you are still trying out for the [Football] team. I’m not putting pressure on you, but I’m including our SEAL Team philosophy, not your mom’s version of it. This is a new thing for the teams. The attitude is the same, but now it’s on paper. If you read it, you will find that it has a little of everything. It goes into things like integrity and devotion and intensity, all these things that will help you in your life if you apply it to your football, then you will do well. Like you said, the more you play it, the more you will understand it. You should print it out and keep a copy with you. It’ll be good to remind yourself before practice or anything that sucks. I’ve been doing my job for 15 years and I think about it, about parts of it at times. The other night we were on the worst op ever. Guys wanted to quit, but there was no way out. We had to dig deep from within and suck it up. We ended up prevailing as always. It’s always in the head. Your body will do whatever you tell it to do. So when you’re doing your tryouts or your two a days and you are just going through the motions, check yourself and give it everything you’ve got. You may not get another chance. First impressions are important, and you only get one chance to make them. One of my guys has a brother who’s the strength coach is the University of Texas. He changed the SEAL philosophy to a football one. I’ll include that one also. These are valuable tools and a lot of experienced SEALs got together to make it, use it, and in your own words, do well. I’ve got to get going.

I love you,


These words, laden with wisdom, love, and a SEAL’s tenacity, became a cornerstone for Jacob as he navigated the tumultuous waters of loss and grief. The loss of his father compelled Jacob to embark on a journey of deep introspection and resilience. He turned inward, seeking to find his path and passion in the echoes of his father’s teachings.

Jacob’s transition from grief to passion is a testament to his strength and his father’s enduring impact. He found solace and purpose in storytelling, a medium that allowed him to channel his experiences into something profound and transformative. His foray into filmmaking, an art form that combines the visceral impact of visual narrative with the emotional depth of personal stories, became his way of honoring his father’s legacy and the sacrifices of many like him.

His father’s words not only provided solace but also guidance. They taught him about resilience – the ability to push through adversity, to keep striving even when the odds seem insurmountable. Jacob’s filmmaking journey is marked by this resilience. From his days filming three hours of footage during his travels abroad, little did he know he was laying the groundwork for his future profession. He eventually founded a thriving video production company – Poor Bear Stories.

Jacob Centeno

Jacob’s father’s emphasis on qualities like integrity, devotion, and intensity is not only applicable to the SEALs but resonates deeply in any field of endeavor. Jacob applies these principles to his storytelling, capturing the silent sacrifices and untold stories of soldiers and companies seeking to weave their stories into the product narrative. His work brings to light the unseen aspects of service and sacrifice, providing a voice to those often left in the shadows.

In a world where masculinity often finds itself under scrutiny, Jacob stands as a figure who understands its true essence. He acknowledges the importance of attributes like protection and mentorship, emphasizing their positive influence. Jacob’s critical view of stereotypes and generalizations reflects his deep understanding of the complexities of masculine identity.

In the end, Jacob’s tale is not just an ode to a fallen SEAL father; it’s a narrative that resonates with anyone who has faced loss and found the strength to forge a new path. It’s a story of how the lessons learned from our greatest mentors can guide us through life’s toughest challenges and lead us to discover our true passions. Jacob’s story reflects the powerful role of mentorship in shaping young lives. Guided by his father’s teachings, which emphasized strength, integrity, and perseverance, Jacob emerged not only as a storyteller but also as a living embodiment of the SEAL philosophy imparted to him. His work, driven by a passion for telling stories that matter, continues his father’s legacy, illustrating how the principles of sacrifice and mentorship can shape not only a career but also the very essence of life’s purpose.

Call To Action for Men:

In reflecting on Jacob Centeno’s story, we are reminded of the profound impact that mentorship and the lessons passed down from those we admire can have on our lives. It’s a call to action for every man to not only seek out mentors who embody the values of strength, integrity, and perseverance but also to become mentors themselves. Whether you are a father, a brother, a friend, or a leader in your community, you can shape lives and impart wisdom that endures. Let us all strive to transform our challenges into opportunities for growth, and in doing so, continue the legacy of those who have inspired us.

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