–A Blog By Our Doctor: Jared Pearson
South Dakota, is important to me. Not only am I from here and raised here, but some of the most important life lessons I learned were rooted in my hometown, the community, and the values from the small town life. The other night I was seeing all the latest news on Facebook and scrolling through my Timeline. I noticed that someone posted a music video in the group that I am apart of named “You know You’re from Britton When…”. The music video was by John Cougar Mellencamp and titled “Check It Out”. Someone had posted this video because the footage used in that video was filmed in Britton, SD in the 1930’s by a man named Ivan Besse. My very hometown featured and even more, I had a connection to Ivan Besse who had shot the original footage.
Ivan Besse was a local man who owned the Strand Theater during the 1930’s. Throughout the week, he would walk around the community and film people going about their everyday lives. He found the importance of the day-to-day grind of the hardworking folks of Britton. He would then show those films prior to a movie playing at his theater. This ultimately gave the local townspeople a chance to see themselves on the “big screen.” Something that many of them would never have had a chance to do, without his kindness and supportive nature.
Over the course of a few years he compiled hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of film documenting life in Britton. The everyday lives that to some may have seemed insignificant, but to our community, were memories and times that people created. Unfortunately, at some point in time those films were lost for decades until they were luckily rediscovered in a warehouse. The individuals who discovered those films tracked down Ivan Besse during the 1990’s and had a special plan in mind. These individuals wanted to bring those films back to the community and share with everyone this history. Ultimately they created a film festival to showcase to the community the history that could have easily been forgotten. The event created so much attention that national television news show, 20/20, came to town and did a special about it.
Seeing the a part of the films again brought back memories for me of my hometown, and my first job working as a projectionist at the Strand Theater, once owned by Ivan Besse. Although, I don’t recognize any of the people anymore, many of the buildings look the same as they did then, and if you watch closely you can see a few glimpses of the Strand Theater.
Now as a doctor at Vision Source Specialists, I am making my own memories in a new community, still here in South Dakota. I am interacting with people from across the Black Hills and ultimately helping them see clearly in the workplace or school, educating them on vision care, and providing the tools they need to prevent eye diseases. Community at Vision Source Specialists is an important piece to the foundation we want to build not only among our colleagues, but everyone that walks through the door. Those “small-town values” resonant whether it be a friendly smile, an open door, or the commitment to help everyone’s vision care needs.