The Union Recorder

March 5, 2014

Veteran major media executive sharing remarkable redemption story

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — A great fall and the subsequent rise through religious and personal discovery creates one heck of a narrative.

Joe Kissack, a speaker, author, screenwriter, film and television producer, publisher and entrepreneur, will share a remarkably relatable story at Magnolia Ballroom at 7 p.m. March 5 for CURE GC Worship Night.

CURE International’s non-profit mission operates hospitals and programs in 29 countries worldwide where patients experience the life-changing message of God’s love for them, receiving surgical treatment regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, or ability to pay.

Kissack said he feels honored for the opportunity to help the kids.

“None of us have this smooth sailing for our entire lives,” he said. “We are all lost at something sometime. I love to leverage that and connect for the benefit of another organization.”

He is a frequent guest on local and national broadcasts and has made appearances from coast to coast on NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and many more. 

Kissack has founded an entertainment company, partnered in the publishing world with an award-winning storytelling company, overseen a multi-media company, managed domestic sales and marketing efforts of dozens of nationally syndicated television shows and feature films, including the multi-billion dollar assets of “Seinfeld” and thousands of motion pictures.

In 2012, Kissack completed ‘The Fourth Fisherman: How Three Mexican Fishermen Came Back From The Dead Changed My Life And Saved My Marriage.’ In the book released by Random House, Kissack details how his life miraculously intersects with three fishermen who were rescued after being adrift at sea for more than nine months. 

The Tres Pescadores drifted 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean, surviving on raw fish, rainwater and their faith in God. 

Kissack’s journey began during a Midwest upbringing under a tough father.

He was emotionally wounded, conditioned on a performance equals love mentality.

“I went out in the world, and I was very successful,” Kissack said. 

Even the money and toys didn’t please his father.

That was the beginning of a downward spiral of behavior highlighted by alcoholism.

“I just drank to push down these feelings and emptiness that I couldn’t reconcile,” he said. “The more successful I became the less happy I was.”

The entertainment world wasn’t the best place for someone with the disease considering cocktails frame Hollywood.

His wife of 28 years, Carmen, saw the problem early, though Kissack didn’t hear the cries.

Kissack quit drinking, but the depression grew. He wasn’t the “same Joe,” as life started falling apart.

A personal friend heard Kissack was about to check into a psychiatric hospital.

“He said look pal I’ve been watching you try all these things you think you can check off the list that will fix you,” Kissack said. “He said you can’t save yourself, but the savior can.”

On Feb. 15, 2004 prior to entering the hospital, Kissack asked God to let him die.

Something happened during the sleep hours. The pain was replaced with joy and peace when he awoke.

“I said to Carmen — I think God has just rescued me,” he said. 

Spirituality he grew under Pastor Andy Stanley, who Kissack currently syndicates in 11 markets.

The aforementioned book of the lost fishermen came about by chance.

His confidant heard about the story circulating the Mexican media networks.

Kissack received a first-time assignment to go to the source and get the story rights.

“I couldn’t even explain it. It was such a pull on me to go to Mexico to find these men,” he said. “For whatever reason, I bought a plane ticket and told the guys at the company I think I have to go.”

The visiting and naive American slowly uncovered the series of events placing five fishermen lost in the Pacific. Only three survived nearly one year on the water after a drift carried the vessel into perceived oblivion.

The fishermen survived on raw fish, urine and turtle blood.

“I know why people don’t believe it and why they can’t believe it,” he said. “I get all that.”

While in Mexico, the publishing company parted ways with Kissack.

A Bible and other real signs offered the next path.

It took months to track the fishermen down.

Kissack shared his “faith journey” to gain the blessing to receive the story.

He formed a company, Ezekiel Productions, to hold the rights. 

The information sat back in the states as Kissack tried to pawn the book on a more qualified writer. His media contacts couldn’t believe how a “distribution guy” ended up with the story.

The events shaped like a movie with the fishermen and Kissack’s life seemingly intertwined. 

CURE’s guest speaker noticed that his story was the redemption story because the Mexican men weren’t truly lost.

Kissack wrote the movie framed like a screenplay with a back-and-forth sequence.

“The transitions say of the fishermen coming out of the storm and my life going into a storm and the fishermen coming out of drinking turtle blood and my life drinking vodka told itself to the end,” he said.

Kissack continues working on quality projects such as ‘Journeys with the Messiah’ as the book symbolizes a media mogul’s drive to spread the good work of God.

“I get up everyday and wait to see what else is going to be revealed and how I’ll be used,” Kissack said. “I’m fully committed to get this story out there.”

Visit CURE GC on Facebook and Twitter for more information. Students pay $3 and adults pay $5 to attend the Magnolia Ballroom event.