Ronald L. Winnett (left), grand master of The Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Ohio, presents the 2008 Community Service Award to Carl Swander (right), who accepted the award on behalf of his late brother, Paul W. “Rosie” Swander, at a reception held Friday evening at the Fireman’s Park American Legion Building in Ohio City.
BY JILL DEWERT
Times Bulletin Multimedia Editor
Carl Swander accepted the 2008 Community Service Award on behalf of his late brother, Paul W. "Rosie" Swander, at a reception held last night at the Fireman's Park American Legion building in Ohio City.
"Obviously, there is some sadness, but it is equally a proud moment to have my brother's memory honored in this way. That's pretty special," said Carl of accepting the award for Paul on Friday.
Paul Swander was named as the award recipient by the 881 Masons in Mercer, Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert counties of the 4th Masonic District. Ronald L. Winnett, Ohio's top Masonic officer presented the award.
"In each of the 25 districts, I give out a community service award. It can go to a man or a lady who has done exceptional things and stood out in their own community, just like in this case with Paul and everything he did with the (Ohio City) volunteer fire department," said Winnett on Friday. "This is our way of recognizing someone in the districts."
Swander died at the age of 74 on Feb. 2 from injuries he sustained in a fall at the Ohio City Firehouse. He was a member of the Ohio City Fire Department for over a half-century and served as fire chief for much of that time.
In 1968, Swander, along with Howard Bevington, helped organize an emergency squad in Ohio City. They ordered the first emergency unit from the Horton Company in 1970. Swander also helped organize the Van Wert County Firefighters Association and the 911 emergency system for Van Wert County.
In 1954, Swander married his wife Rhea. They have three sons, Darrell, Tony and Paul.
Swander's other careers were with Walled Lake Door Company in Ohio City and National Seal (Federal Mogul). He retired from National Seal in 1996 after 30 years with the company. He was also a member of Eureka Lodge No. 592 in Ohio City for 51 years and a member of the Moose Lodge in Van Wert.
Also honored at last night's reception was Zach Spear, an eighth grader at Van Wert Middle School (VWMS), who received the Excellence in Youth Award. Spear is on the honor roll and plays flute in the concert band at VWMS and is Junior Councilor of Van Wert Chapter, Order of DeMolay.
Spear has also held offices and participated in a number of statewide DeMolay activities. He is also active in scouting, YMCA Legends basketball team and St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Van Wert. Spear plans to attend college in the future in a math or science field.