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The Spirit of Service
Austin Holt | Photo: Andrew Chorney | February 20, 2014
Our guest editor reflects on his family legacy and reminds us all to remember our veterans.
“I had the privilege to grow up in a family surrounded by the service, sacrifice and honor of our military.” Dan Forsman pauses before continuing. “As my career progressed to become the leader of a tremendous company, I was challenged with passion and vision to honor this heritage.”
The descendant of a long line of veterans, Forsman knows a thing or two about the meaning of service. His ancestors fought as soldiers and officers in the Swedish army. His grandfather served in the artillery in World War I, and Forsman still has his grandfather’s bible and rifle that he took into battle to prove it. His father and mother met in Korea, where she was a Navy nurse. His uncles were all in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War. Too young to serve in Vietnam, Forsman headed off to college and the business world, but never forgot his family’s military roots.
As president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, Forsman has brought honor and respect to the bottom line. He begins company meetings with a Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer for those who have served, supports veterans charities and has started an inter-company veterans program in which ex-servicemen and women can become educated in and enter the real estate business. It’s about giving back.
“Sept. 11 was the turning point for me,” Forsman continues. “I had always been fascinated with the culture of the military, but it was that day that really ignited my passion for our veterans, and for our local community. Freedom doesn’t come free, and we forget that far too often.”
This attention to veterans’ affairs extends across the generations: Forsman’s father, Ed, presently serves as the chairman of the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum in Lexington Park, Md. “They’re currently in the process of rebuilding it, and it’s going to be a wonderful facility and a huge part of the local economy up there,” Forsman says. “It’s one more thing we can do to honor the sons who never came home—who gave us the opportunity to enjoy our lives. They gave us the freedom to do that.”