The Two Guards

There once was a boy named Drago. He grew up on a farm in Gradiška, Bosnia. His house had a dirt floor, no running water and an outhouse for a bathroom. Despite hardships growing up, Drago knew that he would one day be successful.

Drago’s childhood home in Gradiška. I visited there in 2009 to find a Roma family inhabiting the house.

Drago’s childhood home in Gradiška. I visited there in 2009 to find a Roma family inhabiting the house.

Growing up, Drago learned different skills and trades. One of them was the way in which they built homes in the community. They would excavate clay, shape it into bricks, bake them and use them to builds homes. Drago didn’t know that one day those skills would come in handy.

To survive and lead a better life, he needed to leave his homeland behind. I won’t go into that, it’s a complicated story of war and family struggles. He made his way to Detroit, Michigan. He met a girl. They fell in love and had three boys.

Drago and Michelle

After attending Macomb Community college, Drago entered the automotive industry. He found himself at American Motor Company, designing cars. Out of clay. Half the job was learning how to shape clay. He had been doing that since his days in the homeland. He flourished and built a reputation. He wound up at Chrysler and stayed there...for 35 years. It allowed him to build a family and he sent three sons to college. 

Drago is my dad.

He taught me how to be a warrior. As a tribute to him, I  permanently marked myself with two symbols.

They are from the most beautiful building in the world, the Guardian Building. The facade on the southwest entrance was designed by another immigrant clay designer, Corrado Parducci.

They stand for Safety and Security.

Steven Castro-Savich