Hometown Hero | Patty Swango
ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Christmas is referred to as the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ and the City of St. Albans goes all out with its festivities.
It takes a small army of volunteers and city employees to put the event together, including the Festival of Lights, Christmas Parade and pictures with Santa.
Patty Swango is the person behind the scenes pushing everyone to make it happen. She’s been volunteering her time for more than a decade, doing anything she is asked to help with.
“It’s just a satisfaction when you see everybody laughing and having a good time,” Swango said. “That’s what’s it’s all about. It’s too bad we don’t have Christmas spirit all year long.”
Swango said she spends to much time helping the celebration because she loves St. Albans and wants to be involved making it a better place. She tries to do the little things, that might only take five minutes, to make a big difference in someone’s life.
“My very favorite thing is the fire station," Swango said. "When you drive down B St. and you see all of those lights on there. There’s just something about that.”
St. Albans Mayor Scott James said Christmas in St. Albans helps attract tourists to the city and boost business. He talks with Patty throughout the year, and said it would take half a dozen people to replace the amount of work she does.
“She does this on her own, volunteering her time, and works her tail end off on several different events throughout the year," James said. "It means everything in the world to the city.”
Swango isn’t letting the COVID-19 pandemic cancel her Christmas spirit. Instead, she is working to find new creative ways to still hold favorite events, like pictures with Santa, while social distancing.
The event also aims to help the less fortunate by collecting canned goods at giving trees sponsored by businesses in the town. The Alban Arts Center is also putting on a performance of “A Christmas Carol” beginning December 11.
“We all love St. Albans, all of us that volunteer,” Swango said. “We love the city. We want it to be successful. I want St. Albans, I want South Charleston, I want Charleston, everybody that has a function. I want everybody to be successful.”
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