Forge Fellow Ian Swanson speaking at 2016 Forge Showcase Reception

Where Are They Now: Update on Two Forge Fellows

One of the most fulfilling experiences that we have on the Forge Team is witnessing the growth, development, and plans unfold in the lives of the young adults who are in the Forge program.

With Election Day and Veterans’ Day happening last week, this is an excellent time for me to update you on two of our original Forge Fellows — Ian Swanson and Jeremiah Martin.

Jeremiah Martin: A Veteran in Our Ranks

At Forge, we’re blessed and honored to have a veteran in our ranks. Jeremiah, one of our original Forge Fellows, served our country in the Army as Field Artillery. Jeremiah enlisted at the ripe age of 17 after graduating high school and was deployed to Jordan in 2012–2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Jeremiah and his wonderful wife, Emily, are a vital part of the Forge Family, both volunteering at the 2016 Forge Summit and supporting Forge in many ways. Jeremiah continues to serve in the Army Reserves as a Chaplain Assistant.

On Veterans Day, we published this post about Jeremiah in order to thank him, Emily, and all other veterans and families who make the great sacrifices of serving in our military!

Jeremiah returns home from deployment in Jordan
Jeremiah speaks to an audience of veterans and engaged citizens at a Concerned Veterans for America event

Ian Swanson: Running The Race Well

If you were able to attend the 2016 Forge Leadership Network Showcase Reception in July 2016, you were able to meet Ian Swanson and hear his story. Ian was gracious enough to allow us to fly him in for the day in order to speak to our Forge students, donors, and community. He wanted to share how much Forge and the mentor Forge paired him up with had already meant to his life and young career.

Ian speaking at 2016 Forge Showcase Reception

This last year Ian ran for a seat in Nebraska State Senate. After shocking the political establishment and pulling off an upset victory in the primary this spring, Ian lost his runoff race against the popular incumbent for State Legislature/Senate (Nebraska is unicameral). In November, as the final votes were counted, Ian came up just short, receiving over 48% of the vote. At Forge, we’re incredibly proud of Ian for running an incredible race (almost upsetting an entrenched incumbent at distant odds!), and more importantly, for the character and integrity with which Ian conducted himself during his run. After his success in the primary, he no longer had the element of surprise, and his opponents on the Left brought literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to bear against him, including some nasty attack ads.

Through all the adversity and pressure, Ian kept his head held high and honored his God, his family, and his friends with his words and actions. Ian worked his tail off, personally walking thousands of houses in order to talk with his fellow Nebraskans about his vision of conservative solutions and new leadership in the Nebraska Legislature. Really an incredible effort by a young man who we are blessed to call a friend and brother in Christ. We’re excited to see what God has in store for him next. As many of us have learned in life, success is measured in obedience to God’s calling not in outcome. Ian ran this race well, in many senses of that phrase!

Ian, family, and campaign team on Election Night

I hope you’ve enjoyed this update on two of our Forge Fellows. We’ve profiled a number of our students for you and will continue to do so. I hope these profiles allow you to personally see the impact that donations and generosity to Forge Leadership Network are having on transforming individual lives and our communities!

Thank you for your continued support and friendship,

Adam Josefczyk
Forge Leadership Network
Executive Director

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This post originally appeared on ForgeLeadership.com