As we come to the end of another year, we reflect on what has been and anticipate what is to come. With each new year, we welcome new beginnings. In fact, the month of January is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Janus is often depicted with two heads that face in opposite directions, looking to both the future and the past. And now is a time for us to look toward a new beginning for our community, while also reflecting on the past, particularly the contributions of Mayor Charles Schwabe.
After serving the city of Swainsboro as mayor for 16 years, Schwabe’s final term is coming to an end. A lifelong resident of Swainsboro, Schwabe has worked to improve the quality of life for our community by focusing on job creation, downtown revitalization and sustained economic enhancement. During his tenure, a new fire department and police station were built, as well as a new airport terminal and hangar and waste water treatment plant. Infrastructure saw vast improvements, more than 100 city streets were paved, and downtown was given a facelift with new lights and sidewalks. And that just skims the surface of what he has done for Swainsboro. Many of us will have a different opinion on what Mayor Schwabe’s legacy will be, but for me, it is the relationship he has built with the city of Swainsboro.
Mayor Schwabe boasts an impressive resume, serving in various capacities on the Swainsboro/Emanuel County Joint Development Authority, the Swainsboro Zoning and Planning Commission, the Swainsboro/Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce, the Southeast Georgia Jaycee Fair Board and the Pine Tree Festival Foundation; serving on the boards of numerous organizations including Access Emanuel, the East Georgia College Foundation and the Heart of Georgia RDC; Rotarian, recipient of the Paul Harris Award and selected “Person of the Year” by the Swainsboro/Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce in 2007. The list keeps going. But it’s what you don’t see on his resume that will leave a lasting mark.
It’s the handshakes and pats on the back when seeing friendly faces at lunch or dinner. It’s the conversations while standing in the parking lot after church. It’s stopping on the sidewalk to talk to anyone who has a concern or just wants to know what he thinks the Dawgs’ chances are on Saturday. It’s his head popping around a corner at The Forest-Blade, just checking in to see how everyone is doing. It’s knowing the names and faces of so many in our community. It’s building a family and life in Swainsboro with his wife, Jean, and their two sons. It’s not about Schwabe being a part of Swainsboro, but Swainsboro being a part of him.
While Mayor Schwabe starts a new chapter in his life, and we all start a new one as a community, we reflect on what he has brought to our community. I would like to thank Mayor Schwabe for his years of dedication and service to Swainsboro. His leadership and tireless commitment to our community are reflected in the people and places that surround us.
Thank you, Mayor Schwabe, for what you’ve given to our community. Enjoy your new chapter. We will see you around town.
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