Pastor Kent Swift on Honor Flight

By | June 10, 2013
Pastor Kent returning from Honor Flight

Pastor Kent returning from Honor Flight

Pastor Kent

Pastor Kent waves to greeters

Senior Living Communities in Billings, Montana

When the plane carrying veterans of World War II touched down at Billings Logan International Airport on an evening in April after a flight from Washington, D.C., a crowd of family and friends greeted them with flags, banners and balloons. Among the crowd of greeters was a group of residents from Sweetwater who came to welcome home our own Pastor Kent Swift, a Sweetwater resident for two and a half years.

“Honor Flights” have been organized in several states to enable World War II veterans to fly to Washington at no cost to visit the World War II Memorial and other historic sites in our nation’s capital. Going on the flight, Pastor Kent said, “I found out patriotism isn’t dead.”

Pastor Kent was raised on a farm near the Canadian border in Montana and joined the Army Air Corps in 1942. He was assigned to engine mechanic school in Lambert Field, Missouri, but before the course was finished his father suffered a heart attack, and he was discharged to return to the farm. He and his wife Joanne were married in 1944 and were teachers on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. They were desperate for teachers, he says, and though he was “totally unqualified” he was hired to teach grades four through six, since he had substituted for his wife a few times in her high school classroom.

He subsequently received a college degree in Billings and graduated from seminary in Oregon, beginning a career as a pastor in the Evangelical Church of North America. He served churches in Beach, North Dakota, and in Glendive and Billings, Montana. Pastor Kent and Joanne Swift moved to Sweetwater two and a half years ago. She passed away in June, 2012, leaving her husband of 68 years, two children, nine grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.

The favorite part of Pastor Kent’s visit to Washington was visiting Arlington National Cemetery, but the whole trip was humbling because so many people thanked the veterans for their service. He says, “The ones who should have been thanked weren’t able to be there.”

by Betty Jean Long,
Life Enrichment Coordinator

To find out more about the senior living experience at Sweetwater, please contact Sweetwater Retirement Community today to see more of our fun and social living. We’ll happily answer all your questions and show you around our beautiful communities. Come see why we say, THIS IS LIVING!


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