A father’s love and loyalty
Gene Swavely, a combat veteran of World War II and Bronze Star recipient, led a simple life. He worked for a dairy in Reading delivering milk to homes and schools. He and his wife Peggy lived in a modest home in the Reading area. Together they had one son, Craig.
Craig Swavely graduated from Shippensburg State College in 1976 with a degree in business. Nine years later, he passed away from a brain aneurism while participating in a 10k race. He was only 30 years old. His Shippensburg friends created the Craig K. Swavely Memorial Scholarship Fund, involving his father at every step.
Gene wanted to see his son’s scholarship fund grow, but being of modest means, he had to find a way to support the fund. He decided to collect aluminum cans and even had a small group of friends helping him. He gave the money he earned from collecting cans his son’s scholarship fund through the SU Foundation.
Gene collected cans for over 30 years. At the age of 93, he had to stop collecting cans when he sold his home and entered an assisted living community. At the 2019 SU Foundation scholarship dinner, Gene was able to meet Natalie Rodriguez, the current recipient of the Craig K. Swavely Memorial Scholarship at that time. Natalie graduated in 2020 and hopes to make an impact as a teacher in an inner-city school.