PROSPERITY — Prosperity Town Council awarded Forrest Swittenburg Jr. with this year’s Bennie Bennett African American Community Service Award.
“Two years ago Bennie Bennett was our recipient, and unfortunately he passed away that same year. So to honor him from that point forward we have recognized an outstanding African American in our community with the Bennie Bennett African American Community Service Award,” said Mayor Derek Underwood.
Swittenburg, a native of Prosperity, decided to enlist in the Army where he received his Basic Training in Columbia at Fort Jackson. Upon the completion of his training, Swittenburg was stationed in the 406th Medical General Laboratory in Japan as a Medic for three years.
“By the time I was through over there I knew quite a bit of Japanese,” Swittenburg said.
After being honorably discharged, Swittenburg had the opportunity to be part of a choir, the Billy Graham Crusade. Swittenburg is also a member of the Sons of Allen Choir.
Swittenburg’s wife Daisy always encouraged him and when he transferred to the Army National Guard, where he spent 15 years, he was involved in organizations from church, he was a mason, a Shriner and was a Boy and Cub Scout leader. He has three daughters, Patricia, Adrienne and Joyce and three grandchildren.
He spent several years at General Electric, where he served as an electrician and was a Fire Safety Inspector at V.C. Summer Nuclear Plant.
“Mr. Swittenburg would always say ‘In order to get what you want you have to work and work hard for it’, that’s a statement that a lot of young people can live by,” Underwood said.
Council also recognized Prosperity town employees and police officers. Ed West, utilities director, recognized Joe Everson, Stanley Dominick and Rodney Dodley.
“This is on behalf of the cold snap that we had. We had a lot of water main breaks and these three men came every single time. None of them questioned it, all three of them were there before me so I think that speaks a lot on their integrity. They are just a great group of guys,” West said.
Chief David Beddingfield recognized his officers who assisted the utilities department during the record-low temperatures. Beddingfield recognized Officers Theodore MacLaughlin and Corey Jones.
“This is something that extends over a period of time, the fatigue starts to set in. In the police field, you can’t just press pause while the work is completed, you still have pedestrian and vehicular traffic and you still have calls for service coming out. It’s a dangerous situation because the workers are in the roadway and these officers specifically went above and beyond to assist with traffic control, while maintaining the integrity of the town throughout this entire ordeal,” Beddingfield said.
The Prosperity Rescue Squad was recognized for their contributions to the Town of Prosperity when the temperatures dropped.
“This isn’t something that they are paid for, it’s not something they do because they have to. They do it because they love it and are doing it for the betterment of the community just to help others,” Underwood said.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.