It’s been a almost a year since we last profiled Joe Stamm, once a Metamora football star, now a popular local musician.
Since we last caught up with him, he and his band have continued to find ways to grow an audience, including a local venture as they sought to turn the spotlight on a family of a fallen Marine.
It’s one of Stamm’s latest songs, “I’ll Buy the Beer.” The video opens with the singer narrating a little about Ben Desilets, an Elmwood native who joined the Marines at 18 to provide a better life for his daughter. Sadly, the determined young father’s life was cut short three years later.
“He was deployed to Iraq. It was his second deployment, he was the driver in the lead vehicle in the convoy and they drove over a pressure plate IED and there was an explosion,” his mom Brenda Bland explains.
Although the song captures the loss the family still feels, set to old photos of and home videos of Desilets performing magic tricks with his sister, the song wasn’t actually written about him. In fact, Stamm actually wrote it 10 years ago after a phone call with a friend.
“It was one of those deals where I got off the phone and thought to myself, ‘What would it be like if he wasn’t here? If you didn’t have that person to call up and talk to?'” he recalls.
It wasn’t until recently Stamm got the idea to make it about someone who died in the line of service, and put out the call on social media looking for a family to feature.
“We got about 15 submissions, and when I went through all and read them all personally and read the stories, it was a very emotionally charging process,” he admits.
Stamm adds the filming was equally emotional, as they shot in the family’s home, then joined them all at Desilets’ gravesite.
It made for a moving tribute that touched the fallen marine’s family.
“When it started and he said Ben’s name and a little bit about his story, it just took my breath away. Because he made it about Ben,” Bland shared with emotion in her voice.
“I wanted it to be about Ben, I wanted it to be about Brenda. I wanted it to be about their family, I wanted it to be about their story,” Stamm echoed.
It ended up turning into a story that helps to memorialize a man who was more than just a marine. As his mother points out, he was a son, a brother, and a father.
Fittingly, his daughter, just 3 when he died, was in the video. Now a teenager, she was there at his grave with the rest of the family, making one more memory of her father to now cherish.
To hear the song and read more about Corporal Ben Desilets’ story, click here.
For every CD sold, the Joe Stamm Band is donating one dollar to Darkhorse Lodge, a non-profit retreat for combat veterans of all branches of service to relax and fish on Kentucky Lake. It was a cause Stamm learned about from one of the nominations he received for the video, and a venture that appealed to the lifelong avid outdoorsman.