Swanson joined the Marines in May 2009 and went into active service August 12 for a seven-month tour as part of the Marine Corps Reserves. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve in Buffalo, and his tour of duty was only weeks away from completion when his life was cut short.
Lance Corporal Aaron Swanson, a 2007 Southwestern graduate, was killed by a roadside bomb February 7, 2011 in Afghanistan while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps. LCpl. Swanson was laid to rest on Valentine’s Day.
Those who knew Aaron best said he had a smile that could light up any room. It is those memories that the Swanson’s, the Southwestern Central School District, and the Community Foundation hope to perpetuate with the LCpl. Aaron M. Swanson Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Once fully funded, the scholarship will go to a graduating high school senior from Southwestern Central High School with a “B” or better average G.P.A who is looking to study Criminal Justice or Education at Jamestown Community College or SUNY Fredonia.
“The scholarship would be for someone going into Criminal Justice. If not Criminal Justice, then someone who is going into Education,” said Aaron’s mother Julie. “We want it to benefit someone staying local, someone like Aaron who was a hometown kid.”
Mrs. Swanson said that Aaron was prepared to come back to JCC or SUNY Fredonia to complete his education and get his degree in Criminal Justice.
Southwestern Central School Superintendent Dan George thanked the Community Foundation for giving the residents of the Chautauqua Region a means by which to honor Aaron.
“We plan to inform all of our staff and faculty about the new scholarship fund, and ask them to channel any donations to the Community Foundation,” George said.
Community Foundation Executive Director Randy Sweeney said, “Aaron Swanson was loved by friends and family alike, and it is our hope to honor him by providing financial assistance to a student graduating from his alma mater.”
While serving in active duty, Swanson received several awards and decorations including the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the NATO Medal – International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan.
Swanson was buried in Soldier’s Circle at Jamestown’s Lake View Cemetery next to fellow American heroes.
If you would like to donate funds to the LCpl. Aaron Swanson Memorial Scholarship Fund, contact the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation at (716) 661-3390 or visit www.crcfonline.org, where a direct link to the scholarship fund can be found.