July Jefferson Award Winner: Rusty Swearingen
Once a month, WDTV and Antero Resources award one deserving community member with a Jefferson Award. For the month of July, we’re honoring Fairmont resident Rusty Swearingen.
Rusty is a retired mechanic who spends many of his hours volunteering in Morgantown at Chestnut Mountain Ranch -- a home and school for boys in need of hope and healing.
Rusty has worked on cars since he was 16-years-old doing body and mechanic work. “My son’s a pastor in Bridgeport and he came down here one year and was talking to Steve, and Steve told him he needed someone to come and work on a car and he said ‘I know the guy’ and the rest of it’s history,” Rusty said.
The ranch averages 1,000 volunteers a year, but there’s one volunteer that Executive Director and Founder of the ranch Steve Finn says stands apart from all the others, and that’s Rusty.
“Rusty has kept us moving for over a decade,” Steve said. “Rusty and Pam [Rusty’s wife] come out here and they jump in without question and they can fix just about anything.”
As a retired mechanic, Rusty started volunteering by working on home vans, construction trucks, and staff cars. There is no automotive garage to do the work in, so he works in parking lots, and even on gravel roads. However, he does have plans to expand, which includes ways to benefit the kids.
Rusty said, “My goal is to get a garage where I can get the boys and start teaching them basic things on the car, because a lot of these boys don’t even know how to check the oil in them.”
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