Mirek Brát

26.listopadu 2019

(slíbený rozhovor novin ECHO „na lince“ Náchod – New York) Milan Světlík – první Čech, který chce na lodi poháněné vesly překonat Atlantický oceán!

(slíbený rozhovor novin ECHO „na lince“ Náchod – New York) Milan Světlík – první Čech, který chce na lodi poháněné vesly překonat Atlantický oceán!

MEET MILAN

Explorer and Adventurer at Heart

Born into a totalistic regime in Nachod, Czech Republic, I always knew I was going to visit the U.S. one day. Perhaps, this conviction was in part due to the fact that my parents were never able to leave the country until they were in their mid-30’s or maybe, more so, due to my curiosity, determination and natural disposition for adventure.

At the age of 22, I chose to leave the very place I called home, leaving family and friends behind to pursue a new beginning in a foreign land with the hope of establishing a decent life for myself. When I first stepped foot into the U.S., I began my journey in California where I landed my first job – washing dishes for a retirement home in North Hollywood, but left 9 months later as I soon realized the value and importance of acquiring a tangible set of skills that would allow me to specialize in a stable vocation. With that being my primary focus, I moved to New York City with nothing save my backpack and the little savings I had managed to accumulate, and I did just that – it was in NYC, where I built the occupational foundation and skill set that has remained with me until this day having started only as an electrician’s apprentice but eventually becoming an independent mechanic. However, before obtaining the independence that I now hold today as an electrical engineer, I embarked on a somewhat atypical expedition driven once again by my curiosity and propensity for adventure. However, with this adventure, I encountered an obstacle that only time could resolve.

After a few years of time, I was finally able to jumpstart a lifelong dream of becoming a commercial diver when I was awarded legal status with the much awaited green card. To even be considered for such a role, I had to undergo an intense six-month training program at Divers Academy International, from which I was awarded the Presidential Award as valedictorian and graduated with highest honors. Soon thereafter, I left for Lafayette, Louisiana – an epicenter for offshore diving in the Gulf of Mexico, where I had yet to secure a job. Being roofless and barely gaining any traction on the job front, my optimism began to fade as I tried to sleep night after night in a car. After application one after the other, I was fortunate to get hired by one of the local dive companies, Legacy Offshore, with whom I was not only able to rediscover who I was and what I was capable of, but also immerse myself in the world of commercial diving and discover what it is all about. Servicing oil fields and completing challenging dives, I met some of the most hard-working and most resilient people there are, made life-long friendships and forged unforgettable memories.

For a long while, I thought “this is it, I want to dedicate my life to commercial diving.” Even though I felt blessed for the remarkable experience, I eventually felt that I had hit a plateau and realized that I wanted something different, something with less risk of severe physical injury and more stability where I can take on increasing amounts of responsibility. As I came to this realization, I knew I had to return to New York and start over again but this time, I was looking to establish a long-term career in a field where I could rely less on physical brawn and more on my analytical capacity. With that focus in mind, I pursued opportunities in the Construction sector. After half a year of working in the industry and progressively exceeding expectations, I was offered the position of Project Manager for a New York-based electrical contractor, where I am to this day. I am grateful for having the opportunity to join the IBEW Local 3 Union here in New York City as I am able to partake in some of the most incredible projects for which I can utilize my technical engineering background.

Though I take pride in having accomplished all the above, I did not feel as proud as I did on the day that I became a citizen of the United States last year, in September 2018. For the first time in 12 years, I felt at-home. Since that day, I finally feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself, something greater than an individual’s trials and tribulations – as this country has offered me so much, it feels appropriate that perhaps there is something more I can do to pay it forward.