Steve Swett: A Humanitarian For The Illinois Valley       


Rachel Einhaus

Steve Swett (right) stops to talk to a volunteer at the American Red Cross Bloodmobile in the IVCC gym.

Zach Kent, IV Leader Staff Writer

Steve Swett, an instructor at Illinois Valley Community College, teaches classes such as “Preparing for College” and “Industrial Safety.”

 He has been working as a teacher for roughly 30 years, but he gets far more in depth than that. Not only has Swett been a teacher at IVCC, but he also taught at Sheridan Correctional Facility for nearly 20 years and has been a volunteer at the Red Cross for over 30 years.

 The moment the interview began, Swett immediately had to take a phone call in regards to the snow melting and rain that was causing flooding in Marseilles and in Utica. Even though he was dealing with these community needs and had to tend to them right after the interview, he seemed to take it all in stride.

 Swett has an inclination towards helping others. Although he is not compensated monetarily for his work with the Red Cross, he says, “There is a difference between a volunteer and a professional volunteer,” adding, “People are not just numbers, and that is why I would say my compensation comes from the satisfaction of knowing I helped those people.”

Swett said his wife often gets questions from people who think that Swett strictly works for the Red Cross. Swett remarked that every time his wife would answer this question: “He has not seen a check from them in 30 years.”

About half way through the interview, Swett was forced to take another phone call in regards to the Red Cross. Swett put the phone on speaker and showcased his dry sense of humor when the man calling asked, “Hey, Steve, how are you doing?”

Swett replied, “Terrible,” as the man on the other line began to chuckle.

Aside from his volunteer work over at the Red Cross, Swett also is involved in the charity called Sock it To The Veterans. This charity takes in sock donations and then provides veterans in need with those socks throughout the year.

When asked what kept him going everyday, Swett replied, “For kids and other people like you. So I can teach them some common sense and they can go out and help their community.”

Frederick Becker III, who is a student in Swett’s “Preparing for college” course, said he likes the course and instructor.

 “It is a great class to learn reliable skills,” Becker said. “He is a stand up guy, stays very true to himself and his students, no lies.”

Swett is relatively prominent in our community and for good reason. He seems to have a knack for helping others and finds purpose in his life through this helpful hobby of his.