St. Anthony’s Scott Swanson awarded Villager of the Year


Scott Swanson

The St. Anthony Chamber of Commerce honored Scott Swanson by presenting him with the Villager of the Year Award at the annual chamber meeting on Thursday, April 18 at Jax Café in Minneapolis.

Swanson has been a village resident since 1981 and has been a member of the St. Anthony Fire Department for 38 years. He holds the rank of Captain, which is the highest rank a volunteer can hold in St. Anthony.

“People were asked at the meeting: who knows who Scott Swanson is? A few people raised their hands,” St. Anthony Fire Chief John Malenick says. “I said well, he’s been quietly saving peoples lives for 38 years.”

Malenick says this award is long overdue for Swanson, who he says possesses all the characteristics of a hero.

The Villager of the Year Award was established in 1991 to honor and recognize a resident of St. Anthony Village who has made outstanding contributions to improve the quality of life in their community.

Many people in the village see Swanson as an unsung hero, a humble guy who goes out of his way to help people every day and expects nothing in return.

Swanson says winning the award was a complete surprise.

“I was very surprised,” he says. “I certainly hadn’t expected it at all. I remember thinking that there must be someone more deserving of this than me.”

In addition to the countless hours Swanson has put in fighting fires and saving lives, he has also dedicated incalculable hours volunteering.

He has served on several committees on the fire department, such as chair and president of the Firefighters Relief Association, as a safety officer, and has acted as a leader, providing mentorship to many new recruits on the department over the years.

Additionally, Swanson worked as a football coach for the North Metro Sports League for 14 years.

He was also an avid mountain climber, who has climbed many rugged peaks in Wyoming’s Grand Teton Range, the northern Rockies in British Colombia and in other mountainous western areas.

He has used that knowledge to teach kids of all ages how to tie knots and ropes.

Swanson also works a fulltime job as an account manager at RR Donnelley in Maple Grove.

“I don’t know how this man has time for anything else. It’s remarkable,” Kelly Salseg, the chambers executive director says.

What keeps him motivated? Swanson says he just loves working with people.

“I enjoy helping people whenever I can. I like seeing people learn new things, achieve new things. It’s really a pleasure to do that,” he says.

Swanson, who just turned 63 on April 28, says he is looking forward to more down time in the future. He recently stopped fighting fires and responding to emergency calls, but still works with the department part-time, although in a different role.

“I have been devoting time as a historian for the department,” he says. “I’m putting together a whole history –- collecting newspaper articles and other documents as well as old photographs.”

Photography is a hobby for Swanson, something he anticipates he will be doing a lot more of down the road. He enjoys photography and usually has a camera with him whenever he’s out in nature, photographing waterfalls, wildlife and landscapes.

He says he also enjoys traveling to National Parks with his wife Carol, hiking, biking and exploring the north shore of Lake Superior.

The couple recently purchased a home in Arizona not far from sprawling Phoenix. He says he and Carol look forward to spending more time there with family after he retires from RR Donnelley in a couple of years.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7824.

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