Fort Myers man is the inspiration behind Hollywood movie

Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla.- A Bishop Verot High School graduate is the inspiration behind a new Hollywood movie.

Shawn Berner coached high school football players while their parents fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He started playing football at a young age. As a junior and senior, about 25 years ago, he played for Bishop Verot.

“He was an offensive lineman. Number seven,” said his high school football coach, Bill Shields.

Berner says his coaches were his role models.

“I think there are always people outside your direct family that impacts you and what you’re going to do and how you’re raised and what you become in your adulthood,” he said. “Coach Shields, there’s just no two ways about it, was one of the major impacts in my life.”

Berner went on to coach football at Fort Campbell High School in Kentucky. There are only a few high schools in the country run through the Department of Defense and Fort Campbell is one of them. The parents of the students that attend the school serve the United States.

“When I first got here, you know, there was nothing going on,” Berner told WINK News, “but after two months of being here, that’s when 9/11 happened.”

Berner quickly became more than a coach.

“I mean, he was basically filling in as a father for these young men whose dads were fighting over in the Middle East,” Shields said.

Berner’s story caught the attention of a Sports Illustrated journalist who reached out to X-Men producer, Bobby Sabelhaus. They both agreed that his story, and that of his football players, had to be heard.

“Our kids are the epitome of team sacrifice,” Berner said. “They persevere,” he continued. “They’re just wonderful kids to coach and be around because of their background.”

With the screenplay nearly finished, the next step is to take it to production.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.