Congratulations, and Thank You to Chris Swiser on being named the FUAN July 2020 Advocate of the Month.
Despite coming from a strong, close-knit family, Chris has continuously invested time, talent, and money to help FUAN further its mission. He has also recently volunteered to take on the role of FUAN Chief Editor for this website. We cannot thank him enough for all he does behind the scenes to support Iowa families
Chris Swiser was born in Cedar Rapids and attended primary school in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. After graduation, he continued the job he started when he was 16, which was selling shoes! Chris has played guitar professionally in rock bands since he was 13, and when he turned 20, he started a band of his own.
That band toured the Midwest 40 weeks a year from Minnesota to Missouri to Ohio and Nebraska. That was back in the days when hotels were almost all full-service with a restaurant and a bar. That went on for three years. He likes to say that time on the road taught him how to really pack a suitcase. Chris has stated that he could not wait to get out of Mt. Vernon and travel.
One of the main things he says he learned from traveling was that the Mt. Vernon – Cedar Rapids area is a pretty cool place to live. It is where he wanted to raise a family because of the nurturing nature of the community.
Then he got married. Chris’ wife, Laura, went on the road with him right after their honeymoon. The road trip continued for three months until she went home. Three months later, she delivered an ultimatum – it was either the band or her. He chose her. Smart decision. They have been happily married for 45 years and have two sons, two daughters-in-law, three grandsons, and one granddaughter.
His family background is almost the definition of the “nuclear family.” His parents had a lasting marriage. This pattern has been followed by Chris and his wife, his older sister, her husband, and Chris’s two sons and their wives.
Despite having friends who came from divorced parents, he had no clue about the issues that a divorced family deals with constantly. He heard some of the stories about going to Dad’s house on the weekends or choosing to live with one parent or the other, but he had no personal point of reference. All that changed after he met a young man that became almost like a brother.
Nick and Chris met at a convention and instantly connected. Nick always had a smile on his face and had a weird sense of humor, just like Chris. They became friends. Then, after Nick’s wife left him with their boys on Mothers’ Day 2010, the two became more than friends. Nick talked to Chris almost every day in those initial months.
It was this experience that opened Chris’ eyes to Family Court proceedings. He heard things about the whole process of Shared Parenting that made him shake his head in disbelief. Chris has said one of the main things he remembers from that time is his friend said right at the beginning of that journey.
He said, “Chris, it doesn’t matter what happens. However this turns out, she will always be their mother.” Chris said that was when he knew his friend was going to be alright.
Chris’s involvement in FUAN is a direct result of this encounter. It raised his awareness, and the more he heard about the struggles of others, the more he saw the injustices. How much sense is there in throwing a parent in jail because they could not pay their child support or taking away their driver’s license for the same reason? Chris says, “It makes NO SENSE.”
He says he is here to help; however he can do to advance the causes put forth by FUAN to bring about Family Law Reform. The goal is that more families can experience the love and care of both parents and whether their family remains intact.
Chris and his wife have contributed to FUAN events by donating their musical talents to draw and entertain crowds. Despite nearly losing his life in a car accident a little over a year ago.
Chris is still active and involved with FUAN. To paraphrase a well-known song, “What the world needs now…is more people like Chris.” Congratulations on being named FUANs July 2020 Advocate of the Month!