“My Dad taught me all about determination. He was the most determined person that I ever knew and a wonderful role model,” said Ashleigh Lynch, a Freedom Alliance Scholarship recipient and senior at Appalachian State University, where she is majoring in Elementary Education.
Ashleigh’s step-father, Marine Capt. Tyler B. Swisher, was killed in Zaidon, Iraq in 2005 when his humvee was struck by an IED while conducting operations against enemy forces. Ashleigh was 15 at the time, and her siblings, Madison and Jacob, were seven and five.
This was Capt. Swisher’s second tour of duty in Iraq. “I’ve always heard that expression ‘a Marine’s Marine.’ That was Tyler Swisher,” said Jack Buchholz, a longtime family friend. He and Tyler’s father, David, were teachers in the suburban Indian Hill school system.
“He overcame a lot of obstacles. He had to work extra hard,” said Buchholz.
Ashleigh shared that her father had to overcome serious learning disabilities growing up. But he worked tirelessly, spending time on school while on summer break. Eventually, his hard work paid off. He made the honor roll his senior year in highschool, and he graduated college with a degree in Biology and an outstanding GPA. Then he joined the Marines and worked his way up to Captain. “Many people admired how intelligent and educated he was. No one knows how hard he had to work,” Ashleigh said.
Now, “every time I come across something difficult in my life, I think about my Dad. He was the epitome of determination and has motivated me to become determined in everything that I do,” she said. Ashleigh plans to become a teacher to give back to her community. “I want to help children that have learning disabilities like my dad had,” she said. She thanks Freedom Alliance for the scholarship which has made her education a reality. “I would have had a hard time attending college without the help of Freedom Alliance. Thanks to your generosity I can attend school full-time and concentrate on my studies.”