Passing the Torch

Passing the Torch

Brothers Jake (left) and Justin Vanier enjoy some friendly competition.

Jake Vanier takes the reins from older brother Justin as ASC president

For most brothers, getting into a few backyard scuffles is just part of growing up together. Not so in their case, claim siblings Justin and Jake Vanier.

“We were kind of best buds all the way through because we’re so close in age,” says Justin.

“We always had a lot of fun just hanging out,” agrees Jake.

OK, but hypothetically . . .

“Yeah, I’d win,” says Justin without hesitation.

“He’s the older brother, so he always made sure he established his authority,” says Jake with a sly smile only a younger brother would understand. “He’s always been a little bit taller, a little bit stronger.”

So maybe big brother picked on little brother every now and then – but nobody else had better think about it. “I’m a very protective person,” says Justin, getting serious. “More than anyone, he’s the one that I would always want to protect and make sure he’s doing well.”

It’s no surprise the Vanier brothers get along so well. After all, they have so much in common. Both were multi-sport athletes in high school who also competed on the George Fox track and field team. Both are business majors, and both have a heart for youth ministry, Justin with the high school group at his church and Jake with elementary and middle schoolers.

And starting next semester, they’ll have one more thing in common when Jake, entering his junior year, will officially take over for Justin, a 2014 graduate, as the new Associated Student Community president at George Fox.

Now ready to step out on his own after serving last year under Justin as ASC vice president of representation, Jake is grateful for the guidance his older brother has provided and the example he has set.

“It’s always been to my advantage having him a couple years ahead,” he says. “He’s always given me advice on where he might have struggled or messed up and kind of helped me avoid that. . . . More recently, he’s really helped me put the right lens on how I should approach ASC – as serving rather than just doing.”

Serving and investing in the lives of their fellow students is something both brothers have a passion for – a precedent set during Justin’s time as president this past year. “Last year we really tried to put a face to ASC, saying this is a group that really cares about you and represents you and knows who you are,” says Justin. “But knowing someone doesn’t mean just knowing their name. It means knowing their story, who they are and what they’re about.”

Justin, for one, has no doubt that his younger brother is the right person to carry on that mission.

“He’s the most hardworking dude I’ve ever met, and cares more about people than anyone I’ve ever met,” says Justin, looking over at Jake and giving him an extra firm slap on the back. “It’s cool as an older brother to look to him and to see someone who I can look up to.”