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What is your story? How did you end up in Milwaukee?Ian Abston

I have lived in Milwaukee for almost nine years, but have been familiar with Milwaukee since I was young. My parents are originally from Milwaukee, but lived in Akron, Ohio. Every summer when I was growing up, we would come to Milwaukee to visit family and friends. What I remember most from those visits are Kopp’s Custard and Cousin’s Subs. To be honest, Milwaukee has always had an impact on my life growing up because of my roots and family traditions. With that in mind, the reason I moved to Milwaukee almost nine years ago was because I joined the AmeriCorps team through the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee and built a strong foundation here. I have fallen in love with the city because of my career and the genuine friendships I have cultivated.

What keeps you in Milwaukee/What do you like best about Milwaukee?

Milwaukee is my Foundation and Home! I absolutely love the “Smallwaukee” mentality because it has allowed me to build genuine relationships that have developed in meaningful-lifelong friendships. I love being an advocate, ambassador, connector, and cheerleader for the community, and have a passion to connecting others to fall in love with our community while retaining our talent. 

Favorite spot in the city?

As cliché as it sounds, I enjoy exploring, learning, and immersing myself in each part of city because the history, culture, passion, energy, and so much more is inspiring and reminds me that together we can make a better community through respect, being open, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.

Milwaukee festival you are eager to attend each year?

I know each festival because each one is unique and filled with passion, energy, delicious food, awesome music, and truly exemplifies what is culture.

What drew you to Echelon?

For the last two years, I have learned more about the amazing and impactful things that Salvation Army does throughout our communities and I wanted to be a part of something special while spreading the awareness about the services & programs that Salvation Army does throughout the communities.

Share with us a memorable experience you have had thus far with the organization.

One of my most memorable experiences so far with Salvation Army is being able to share my journey and recovery with a group of men.

What struggles do you see our city dealing with? What can our generation do to help?

Together as One Milwaukee, we can become a more diverse, inclusive, and accessible community if we step outside of our comfort zone while removing our lens to embrace others for whom they are so we can understand each other’ journey while being respectful. This will allow our community to become stronger, safer, healthier and a better Milwaukee.