A proud Swede and former U.S. Navy SEABEE, Roland Swanson also took pride in his community.
Although he was born and raised in Jamestown, it was the home he created with his wife, Doris, near Kennedy that led to his moniker, Roland from Poland.
A dedicated community member, Swanson volunteered on the Kennedy Pride committee, serving as Master of Ceremonies for the Town of Poland Memorial Day celebration and the town’s annual flag retirement ceremony. In 2005, he received the Kennedy Grange Community Citizen Award for his outstanding service to community and mankind.
When the Falconer Region Community Fund was established in 2012, Swanson volunteered as a member of the grants committee reviewing requests from community organizations needing funding.
Not only did his knowledge of community needs help the grants process, but Swanson enjoyed learning more about the good things happening in the region.
“You think of the churches and the school and all the organizations that make a real difference in our community, and I get to be a small part of that,” Swanson said.
And even though Swanson passed away in February, his giving spirit continues through several funds created at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to benefit his community.
While many are familiar with the educational funds to honor Swanson’s SEABEE connection and love for his wife, it is the funds created to benefit Kennedy First United Methodist Church and the Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department that keep Roland in Poland for generations to come.