Longtime Local 2067 and
Council 75 member-activist Richard Swyers has been named the winner of the City
of Salem's prestigious "Salem Spirit" volunteer award. The announcement came
during the city's annual Volunteer Recognition Celebration on Aug. 22 at the
Salem Civic Center Peace Plaza.
"The 'Salem Spirit Award'
recognizes those individuals or groups that are constantly promoting Salem and
are frequently behind efforts to improve the city," said Salem City Councilor
Sheryl Thomas, in making the presentation to Swyers. "Certainly Richard Swyers
embodies those characteristics."
Swyers, who works for
Salem's Public Works Department, has held a variety of Local 2067 offices over
the years. He also currently serves as a Council 75 Trustee, is a member of the
Council 75 Public Relations Committee and participates in union political
"Richard is my best
Salem-area volunteer," says Oregon AFSCME Political Coordinator Ralph Groener.
"If it's not already a Council 75 E-Committee or E-Board weekend and we have an
event, Richard is there — every time."
Swyers was typically humble
in accepting the award.
"It's a real honor to
receive this," he said. "I don't volunteer for any recognition, I just do it to
help out. It's rewarding, especially when there are kids involved. Anytime you
can make a child smile, it's worth it."
Swyers was told to be on
hand for the award ceremony and therefore knew he was going to win something,
but he was unaware it would be the Spirit Award, one of the city's big ones. He
tried to deflect the credit and share it with Local 2067 colleagues, posing
after the event with a dozen or so of his union cohorts that came out to see
"All of us are in this
together, and a lot of these events have been 'team' things with the local,"
said Swyers. "I feel sort of funny about being honored individually."
Jack Tucker, the former
longtime President of Local 2067 and a Public Works co-worker of Swyers, said
his friend is extremely deserving of the award.
"Richard is very active in
the community," says Tucker. "You name it, he does it. MS walks, cancer walks,
the Christmas toy drive, our Patriot Day celebration. He's in charge of set-up
at the Salem World Beat festival each year, which is our community's
multi-cultural event. And all that doesn't count the union-related stuff he
does — political events, sitting in and monitoring virtually every Salem
City Council meeting, serving on the local central labor council and more.
"He didn't go out to try and
earn this award, but that's exactly what he's done. Our local union is proud of