I bet this pissed everyone off at HBO!
He's trading ringside glamour for frontline danger.
A rising HBO Sports executive has abandoned the Manhattan high life to enlist in the Army -- and will land in Afghanistan any day now as just another grunt.
Luis Barragan Ferrer, 39, left his prestigious position as director of sports programming at the network late last year and set out for a Georgia boot camp. Voluntarily.
"I just feel that I owe this country a great deal," Barragan said by phone as he prepared for deployment in the battle zone. "I never believed that my education or professional success absolved me of a duty to serve."
HBO Chairman and CEO Bill Nelson, himself a volunteer Vietnam vet who rose to become an entertainment-industry titan, said, "This is the purest enlistment I am aware of.
"The perception is that people join the Army because they are suffering from some form of hardship. But Luis had none of those motivations," Nelson said.
Influential in HBO's boxing division, Barragan, a lawyer, chose a two-year departure into peril over his swanky Chelsea condo and regular work assignments in Las Vegas. Leaving behind his fiancée, Eden Gonzales, only made the decision more grueling.
"I had to stop myself from crying when he first told me," Gonzales said. "I was just worried what might happen. But when you care for someone, you have to let them pursue their goals. He knows I'll stick by him no matter what." [...]
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