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Swaim receives Hall of Fame honor

<p>photo by KENNETH FRY</p><p>Alan Swaim (left) hands off the ball for the ceremonial first pitch during the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Babe Ruth World Series. Swaim will be inducted into the Babe Ruth Southwest Region Hall of Fame.</p>

photo by KENNETH FRY

Alan Swaim (left) hands off the ball for the ceremonial first pitch during the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Babe Ruth World Series. Swaim will be inducted into the Babe Ruth Southwest Region Hall of Fame.

A ceremony honoring Alan Swaim’s induction into the Southwest Region Hall of Fame will take place on Monday, April 21, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Field of Dreams as part of the opening ceremonies of the Babe Ruth League season.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Van Buren Mayor Bob Freeman. “Alan just doesn’t have a passion for Babe Ruth, he has a passion for the kids, for baseball and for volunteering.

“This is a very, very deserving honor for a very deserving person.”

Swaim is the former administrator of the Field of Dreams Complex for 17 years and served as host president for three Babe Ruth World Series and a Cal Ripken, Jr. World Series.

Swaim worked with James Wagoner, chairman of the international board of directors for Babe Ruth League, Inc., over the years. Wagoner even coached Swaim in basketball at the Boys Club in Fort Smith.

“I’ve got to watch Alan become a great volunteer,” said Wagoner. “This is something that the state commissions in the Southwest Region had done on their own. I guess they were probably surprised that Alan wasn’t already in the hall of fame.”

Wagoner said that one of Swaim’s greatest achievements in Van Buren hosting the World Series was getting volunteers lined up to serve as host families for the baseball players.

“Alan has one of those personalities that he is going to work harder than everyone else, and that’s just how he goes about his life,” Wagoner said.

Shortly after Van Buren concluded it first World Series event, Swaim’s organization skills were utilized again as Van Buren became a training site for other cities or communities getting ready to host their own World Series.

“I went to a World Series in Hammond, Indiana, and it they did such a tremendous job and it was just unbelievable. It was that way because (those volunteers) sat through Alan’s presentations,” Wagoner said. “That was just one of many Alan has done. He got them excited about the World Series. Those people took Alan’s ideas and made it their own.”

He was a volunteer baseball coach for 30 years.

“There was a running joke between Alan and I, that no matter where we would go together, he would point someone out and say, ‘I used to coach him,’” said Freeman. “It’s great to see the kind of impact that Alan had as a coach to see these young me be part of the community. But, I told Alan that I got tired of hearing that, so he’s just to tell me when he didn’t coach someone.”

Swaim currently serves on the Crawford County Quorum Court and is part of the Arkansas Outdoor Recreation Grants Commission.

He has served as a former board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Van Buren, as well as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce for both the city of Van Buren and the state of Arkansas.

Swaim has earned additional honors over the years for his service to the community.

Starting back in 1982, he was the Optimist Club Youth Worker of the Year and the Fort Smith Boy’s Club Man of the Year.

In 2004, Swaim was the recipient of the both the Sertoma Club Service to Mankind Award and the Kiwanis Club Volunteer of the Year.

Swaim was Van Buren’s Citizen of the Year in 2005.

He was also the 2008 Left Gomez National Volunteer of the Year sponsored by Babe Ruth League, Inc.

“That’s our biggest award to give out,” said Wagoner. “It’s just a tribute to Alan because not only does he love baseball, but he loves the kids of Van Buren.

“Alan is very deserving of any award and he earns his respect every where he goes.”

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