Faces of the Fort Introduces Virginia Alvino
Jul08

Faces of the Fort Introduces Virginia Alvino

Virginia Alvino loves the ‘Little’ in our Little Big City. She hasn’t been here long – not even two years, actually. But Virginia Alvino has a lot to say about Fort Wayne, Indiana. As a 24 year-old from the bright-light city of Las Vegas, Nevada, she had a lot to discover in her travels (first north to Oregon, then southeast to Indiana). But, that’s what Virginia does. She listens and learns. “It’s the intangible things that shape our lives” she says. Virginia has used those intangibles, those “authentic experiences” to understand our people, our city, and to make it home. Virginia is a journalist/reporter for NPR member station here in Fort Wayne. She easily explained to me that she ended up here because “people move around a lot in public radio.” She was looking for a small station to make her own. What she found here in our “little big city” was ideal. “I loved the station and the people immediately. I had never even heard of Fort Wayne, but when I got here I loved the city too.” “It felt like home before it was,” she continued. Virginia made it a priority to learn about her neighborhood and others, recalling a feeling of Americana. She and her roommate have made a promise to each other to “walk through every alleyway from every angle.” This is a true testament of someone who can’t get enough of her surroundings, always yearning for a more meaningful understanding of them. In our talk, Virginia was candid, brutally honest. She was as raw and pure as I could expect a person to be about the experience she has had during her two years in our city. It wasn’t surprising to me when she said people often apologized to her when she told them where she had come from. But why? Are we really sorry to another person that they found themselves in Fort Wayne, Indiana? “I mean, I get it,” she says. “I left my hometown as soon as I could. But you don’t know what you’ve got. You’ve got to go discover it for yourselves.” For Virginia, it was less about the things she found in our town, and more about what the town did for her. “Fort Wayne is a space you can claim as your own. People are grounded here, but they let you in. No one knew me here, yet I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner.” To some of us, our city may be just about as big as you can handle. But, our nights and lights and clean, open streets were a vast contrast from what Virginia was...

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The Many Faces of our Fort – Introducing Adam Garland
Jun11

The Many Faces of our Fort – Introducing Adam Garland

“Be the change you want to see in your community.” Isn’t that something to live by? Living Fort Wayne thinks so, and that’s why we’ve decided to bring back our Faces of the Fort series – this time with a twist. There are individuals in this city who do great things. We see their faces at events and hear their stories in all the local publications. They are business owners, entrepreneurs, public figures…they are great people. And, they’re making a difference. But here’s the thing, they’re not the only people. We live in a city with people from all cultures, from every corner of the United States, of all ages, all religions, all walks of life. And we all make a difference. The people of Fort Wayne create the “fabric of our community.” With Living Fort Wayne’s Faces of the Fort, I have the privilege of introducing you to a few of them. I am thrilled to begin with Adam Garland. Adam Garland is a 26 year old transplant from Bloomington, IN. His father was a car dealer and his mother was an art historian and curator. In 2003, Adam and his family moved to Fort Wayne and he attended Northrop High School. He hated it. In 2007, his mother passed away, leaving behind her collection of cameras and a broken, lost son. Adam had plans to go to school to become a pastor. But, the death of his mother left him in a dark place with a lack of enthusiasm for even his tangible existence, much less his spiritual one. He started taking pictures with his mother’s cameras. Adam found that through pictures, he could transform and shift his experiences. He could see things from a different perspective. “Photography let light back into my life,” he explained to me, readily. So that was the re-birth of Adam Garland. “I didn’t like Fort Wayne at first,” he laughed. So, I asked him what he likes about it now. Adam explained to me that he didn’t start to like our city until he started biking and exploring neighborhoods. Traveling from one end of town to the other, on a bike with a camera on his back, he began to see how it all came together. And he watched it all through his camera lens. It was this growth and transformation for Adam that fuels his fire for our community today. He is a strong advocate of bike share and public transportation. “When people start to explore other parts of our city, it brings us all together. It’s so easy to be involved in your community, but you have to be...

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Faces of the Fort Returns, with a little help from our friends
Jun10

Faces of the Fort Returns, with a little help from our friends

The Faces are back! This Thursday, Living Fort Wayne will re-launch our Faces of the Fort series with local photographer, designer and civic advocate, Adam Garland. We want YOUR help in finding more Faces! We live in a city with people from all walks of life and we all make a difference. If you know someone who lives in and loves our city, and you think more people should know about them, send us their contact information! We will be collecting names, and determining our Faces based on your submissions throughout this series. Don’t forget to get their permission and send us their contact information at info@livingfortwayne.com. Help us show off the amazing people that make up Fort...

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Faces of the Fort: Jeff Bredemeier
Aug07

Faces of the Fort: Jeff Bredemeier

Jeff Bredemeier went on his first mission trip to Haiti with Impact for Jesus in November, 2013.  His wife, Andrea, was on her second trip to the impoverished nation. Their destination was the rural villages in the western mountains of the country to deliver water filtration systems to areas with little to no access to fresh water. On the flight, Jeff was reading a book about an ultramarathoner who ran his races for charity. He was inspired and decided to create a charity for Haiti based around his triathlons. Throughout the trip, he pinpointed exactly what was going to happen for his charity and what the money would be raised for. “The biggest thing in Haiti is that 90% of the Haitians don’t have clean drinking water or source of running water and 80% of them lack proper sanitation,” Jeff said. “In those villages in that area of Haiti, animal and human waste is all getting dumped in their systems, which leads to sicknesses and death. “One out of eight children don’t even reach the age of five due to cholera and unclean drinking water.” Jeff was already wanting to do an Ironman triathlon, which is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 bike, and a full 26.2 mile marathon, but he wanted a purpose behind it. While in Haiti, Jeff and Andrea helped distribute more than 400 filtration systems. “In some villages, the kids have to walk 30-45 minutes to get to some sort of water source,” Jeff said. “With education, we can teach them how to create cisterns and water collection areas. “I was actually able to go down there and carry up a bucket of water (like they have to). It was really humbling because I’m carrying a five-gallon bucket, with difficulty, and they’re carrying it on their head, barefoot, up rocky hills.” The filtration bucket systems cost about $65 and have a lifetime of 10 years or almost 1 million gallons of water. The system is similar to the filters used in kidney dialysis (.1 microns). Now, nine months later, Jeff is training to compete in the August 23 Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky. His charity, Tri 4 Haiti, is working with Impact for Jesus to once again distribute water filtration systems in the rural villages that do not have access to clean drinking water. Donations are accepted through THIS PAGE and are processed by Impact for Jesus, the charity that sponsored Jeff and Andrea’s original...

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Faces of the Fort – Jaclyn Goldsborough
Mar27

Faces of the Fort – Jaclyn Goldsborough

Jaclyn, we see your name all over the place; can you tell us what all you’re involved in here in the Fort Wayne community?  I’m a reporter with The News-Sentinel and have worked at various positions at Fort Wayne Newspapers for more than three years. As a Fort Wayne transplant, being a reporter has been a great opportunity to fully immerse myself in the Fort Wayne culture and community. It’s a great job to have when you’re a newbie in town. It also has provided me the chance to met great folks and share beautiful stories. I am also involved in Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana. I joined when I first moved here as a way to develop personal and professional relationships. YLNI does absolutely amazing things for Fort Wayne and develops a culture that attracts and keeps young professional in Fort Wayne. I am also involved with two organizations called Earth Charter and Sustainability Indiana 2016. I learned about it while interning at NUVO in Indianapolis where my mentor taught me the importance of environmentalism and sustainability. As two statewide organizations, the leaders were looking for a Fort Wayne coordinator to help connect our environmental leaders and their endeavors with various groups and activists around the state to build an understanding and connect citizens. We meet once a month or so to update each other on project, talk about current events and have a drink. I am also have a deep love and respect for the Central Branch YMCA that helps promote healthy living and an active lifestyle.  How long have you lived in Fort Wayne and what brought you to the Summit City? I’ve lived in Fort Wayne for more than three years. What brought me here was a job, and right out of college that’s a huge blessing, but I never realized how much of a blessing living in Fort Wayne would be. Since I lived here, I have learned to love a lot about Fort Wayne. From the trails and parks to the downtown revitalization projects, Fort Wayne is the perfect size. I hate driving so I love the fact commutting is a breeze around here and I can even ride my bike anywhere I need to go. I also love the fact it’s a healthy and active the community. My large adopted lab/boxer mix Napoleon’s favorite part is the dog park. A job brought me here, but my love of Fort Wayne is keeping me here. Where are you from originally, and what are some of the similarities and differences between your hometown and Fort Wayne? I was born and raised in Elkhart, which...

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