Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Tracie Mitchell
Staff Writer 

Red Cross volunteer Donna Swing turns 90


August 10, 2018

Tracie Mitchell

Donna Swing

WORLAND – Lifetime Worland resident Donna Swing turns 90 years young Saturday and plans to celebrate her birthday with friends and family at the Worland Senior Citizens Center.

"I have a birthday party coming up this Saturday at the senior center. My kids will all be there and my grandkids that don't have something else to do will be there," Swing said.

Donna Swing is the youngest child of Harold and Escher Pickett and was born on Aug. 11, 1928, on her father's birthday. She was born upstairs in what was known as the Veile building, located in downtown Worland. Her only sibling, Ralph, turned 2 just four days later. Ralph passed away at the age of 89 in 2016.

Swing grew up on a farm north of town and one of her fondest memories is when she was in eighth grade and going to the Durkee Country School. Swing said that the school held a spelling bee for all the eighth graders around, including Ten Sleep and Worland schools and how thrilled she was to win the spelling bee.

Another memory, which wasn't as fond, was the very last time she ever rode a horse. "Something funny from when we were on the farm. My brother and I didn't have other kids around to play with us so we played together. So one day we were riding horses and something spooked the horse I was on, I don't know what. He went a flying down the road. Me, I was screaming I suppose. I was hanging on for dear life. Anyway my dad caught us, he jumped on another horse when he saw mine take off, he and caught us. My gosh, I have never ridden a horse since," Swing said.

Swing married Harry Swing in 1947 and four children were created from the union; Jean, Peggy, Terry and Elmer. She now has 12 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Despite having attended Central Business College in Denver, Swing chose after marriage to be a stay at home mom and volunteer for the Red Cross as a Gray Lady. "I stayed home with the kids but I started helping with the Red Cross way back in 1965. I joined the gray ladies and then the head of it wanted to drop out and nobody wanted it so I took it. I worked a long time [31 years] with the Red Cross," Swing said. She added that she received the Clara Barton award in 1990 from the Red Cross.

The Clara Barton award is the highest award a volunteer can earn with the Red Cross.

According to Swing, after the Red Cross folded up here in Worland, she started giving piano lessons to area youth for the next 25 – 30 years. Swing stated that her mother was a very accomplished pianist and also taught piano lessons.

Sadly, arthritis in her hands caused Swing to stop giving lessons and playing the piano, but she has an organ which she can still play.

Around the time Swing started giving piano lessons, she discovered another passion, African violets. Currently she has 13 plants positioned around the organ. Swing stated that 13 is the fewest African violets she has had at one time.

The Worland Senior Citizens Center is a place where Swing spends a lot of time, eating the noon meal, playing cards, bingo or whatever they have going on there. She also enjoys reading and putting together jigsaw puzzles. "I get so fascinated with them I don't want to get up and do anything else," Swing stated.

Swing is a faithful member of the Methodist Church in Worland and was thrilled with the write-up in the church bulletin about her upcoming birthday. " I was baptized in that church and have gone there ever since," Swing said.

When asked what the secret to her longevity is, Swing answered, " I don't know. I was supposed to have died way back, but I didn't."


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