“I was in college and found it boring,” said Levesque, who was a history major at the time. “I was a little bit lost and looking for some direction.”

Without telling anyone, including his family, he enlisted in the Army and went, overnight, from being a Yankee from Maine to an infantryman at Fort Benning, Georgia.

“It was a culture shock,” admitted Levesque. “Your individuality is stripped away, you work collectively and you work toward making a mission accomplished.”

According to the U.S. Army website, “The infantry is the main land combat force and backbone of the Army. They are responsible for defending our country against any threat by land, as well as capturing, destroying and repelling enemy ground forces.”

“In old war movies, an infantryman is the one who gets the job done,” explained Leveque, who was in active service for three years followed by five years in the reserves upon returning to Maine.

Levesque learned the harsh realities of the military early in his career.

“I was in a training exercise where I was running communication wire during maneuvers,” said Levesque. “There was a fighting vehicle that accidentally ran over a squad leader during the drill. Had it been five minutes earlier, I would have been in the same location. I learned that in the military there is nothing safe, there is always the risk of injury or death.”

Later in his career, he would serve as a drill sergeant, a position where he was required to lead new recruits through basic training.

“One time during a graduation weekend, a soldier’s father came up to me and handed me a $100 bill and thanked me for turning his son into a man,” said Levesque. “I gave the money back to the father and said that I had nothing to do with turning his son into a man. I explained that all I did was give his son the opportunity for the man to come out of him.”

Levesque believes that young adults looking at career goals should consider an experience in the military.

“It is the one experience where it doesn’t make a difference whether you are rich or poor or where you come from. It makes no difference of your religious beliefs or your political beliefs,” said Levesque, emphasizing that the military experience strips away any preconceived notions about people. “In the military, everybody is in one spot where everyone is defined by their own personal aptitude and ambition.”

In a lighter moment, Levesque said, “I wish that every politician would be required to go through boot camp.”

Levesque turned solemn when reflecting on his military experience.

“When I think of all the people I brought through basic training, I can only wish that I maximized their full potential,” said Levesque. “I can only wish that something I taught stayed with them when they were deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq and resulted in less injury or loss of life.”

Locally, Levesque is best known as the CEO of Argo Marketing Group, a customer engagement center that has brought hundreds of jobs to the Lewiston-Auburn area. He is also known for moving his corporate headquarters and engagement center to a newly renovated building on Lisbon Street as part of the downtown revitalization efforts.

“About 10 percent of our workforce are veterans,” said Levesque, who also offers a $1,000 sign-on bonus to veterans who join his team.

Levesque’s support for veterans has earned him the Patriot Award given by the Department of Defense for a business that has excelled in employer support for the guard and reserve.

“When you are in the military, you don’t see the gains and experience it will offer you,” said Levesque. “The gains happen later in life, when the lessons learned in the service become much clearer.”

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