“Life isn’t easy. We all have our good and bad days, we’ve all been through pain, physically and mentally. We’ve all thought at times that we couldn’t make it through something.” These are the words of Vanessa Cole, founder of Freedom Forged Co, a stamped jewelry company
After a divorce left her with full custody of her three children she was faced with challenge of becoming the sole provider for her family. She started working for Littlefield Lane, a company founded by her friend (and Freedom Forged co-founder) Heidi Loewen. Her time at Littlefield Lane sparked Vanessa’s love of working with her hands and producing jewelry.
Both Vanessa and Heidi were raised in proud military families. Vanessa’s father served in the US Army, and had one grandfather serve in the US Navy and one who served in the Polish Navy. She says her father instilled in her his work ethic and love and appreciation of the USA. Heidi’s father also served in the US Army and was deployed during the Vietnam war and has had many family members who have served for the FBI.
Vanessa and Heidi have taken their love of jewelry design and combined that with their American pride and support for the military. When describing Freedom Forged, they say “Ours is a one of a kind company dedicated to original designs, best quality, and giving back to our vets.”
Their jewelry designs honor those who serve the United States, featuring charms in support of the U.S. Military, law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs & First Responders.
One of my favorite pieces they sell is the Let’s Roll Coin Necklace. Despite the many times I’ve browsed and shopped their website it wasn’t until I started writing this blog post that the significance of the statement “Let’s Roll” hit me. The phrase”Let’s Roll” are the last known words of Todd Beamer, a passenger on the fateful United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11th, 2001. After realizing the plane he was on had been hijacked, Beamer attempted to make a phone call but was routed to customer service supervisor Lisa Jefferson. Beamer explained to Jefferson the situation that was unfolding on Flight 93 as the hijackers had forced the pilot and co-pilot from the cockpit, had taken over control of the plane, and the decision of some of the passengers to attempt to overcome and reclaim control of the aircraft. As the passengers finalized their plan of counterattack, Jefferson states Beamer’s last words were “Are you ready? Okay. Let’s Roll.” Upon being confronted, the hijackers began flying erratically, rolling the aircraft and pitching it up and down in attempt to stop the brave passengers and crew who were in the process of trying to break into the cockpit. In an effort to thwart the attack the hijackers made the decision to crash their plane before reaching their intended target, Washington D.C.. United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania killing all individuals on board. The passengers who fought back are credited with saving the lives of many.
I think the fact that Freedom Forge Co has a necklace dedicated to the bravery exhibited on 9/11 on their website embodies their love and support of the United States of America. I, like many of my fellow service members, was ultimately inspired to join the military after the events on September 11th, 2001. The year following the 9/11 attacks active duty Army personnel increased by 4,400, Navy by 10,000, Air force by 13,000 and congress approved an additional 13 spots for the Marine Corps