Michael B. Swain got his start in youth involvement with the Cub Scouts. Last week, he went back to his roots, in some aspects, as he was awarded by the Great Smoky Mountain Council of Boy Scouts of America with the 2017 Good Scout Award.
Swain, a career banker and lifelong Scott Countian, was honored during a ceremony at First Presbyterian Church of Huntsville on Thursday.
Serving as emcee of Thursday's event, Scott County General Sessions Judge James L. (Jamie) Cotton Jr. told the story of how Swain brought the Pine Wood Derby to local scouting. Swain kept a "secret stash" of parts for the cars that he would give to cub scouts to help their chances of winning the race.
"Mike is a great mentor to young boys and young men in scouting," Cotton said.
Youth involvement has been an integral part of Swain's career, in addition to duties at First National Bank, where he started as a teller and ultimately served as president before retiring to his current role as chairman of the board. Most notably, Swain has long been a youth soccer coach, but he also served as Cub Master in the Cub Scouts, and said Thursday that it was with the Cub Scouts that he first had an opportunity to be involved with youth.
Swain — a father of three and grandfather of two — was himself a standout athlete as a high school student at Oneida, where he graduated with the Class of 1966. In fact, as Cotton pointed out Thursday, few people realize that Swain is the only person to ever graduate from Oneida with two all-state honors — one for football, and one for band, where he played trumpet.
By the age of 27, Swain was a member of First National Bank's board of directors, where he was following in the footsteps of his father, W.H. (Bill) Swain. He eventually became president and CEO of the bank after his father's retirement.
Cotton noted Thursday that we are the "ghost of our parents as we get older," a reference to the late Bill Swain and the legacy that he left both in the local banking community and with his civic involvement.
Mike Swain is no stranger to that community involvement, which has extended well beyond scouting. He has served on the Tennessee Bankers Association, the Federal Reserve Board, the Scott County Chamber of Commerce, the Boys & Girls Club of Scott County, the March of Dimes, Scott County Hospital, Roane State Community College and the Oneida Alumni Friends for Better Schools. He was also the first chairman of the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life in Scott County.
Swain said Thursday that scouts do not forget the closeless they share with one another, learning how to manage their time and make scouting a family event.
"If we all lived the scout way, the world would be a better place," Swain said.