When he’s not coaching bowling, basketball and tennis teams, assisting in Miracle League games or helping with the Cherokee County Special Olympics, Jim Swantek can be found fixing one of his daughter’s cars or teaching his children important financial lessons.
Lisa Swantek, his wife of 27 years, said her husband is hardworking and dedicates a lot of his time to their children.
“We met in Dallas, Texas, fell in love, got married and had four kids,” she said.
The couple have three daughters — Mary, 22, and Julie, 20, are in college; and Diana, 27, who graduated from Kennesaw State University; and 24-year-old son Justin, who has autism.
“He’s always been involved,” Lisa Swantek said. “He’s definitely dedicated all his leisure time to helping Justin and our daughters.”
The father of four said a big part of being a good dad means putting your children first.
“Putting their needs and growth first,” Jim Swantek said. “It’s a key part of how you plan your time and how you plan your days — and how you plan your financials. The important thing is doing all you can to help them have the best opportunities they can have.”
From helping to fix cars and teach his children about financial responsibility, to scheduling time to spend with son Justin, Lisa Swantek said her husband is a fantastic father and still has time to be a hard worker at his job with IBM.
The humble father said he was “just doing what any good dad would want to do,” by helping all his children through life.
Swantek said her husband does a great job dividing his energy and attention between their four children, but she said her husband does a little extra planning with Justin.
“He’s been a big influence in Justin’s life,” she said. “Supporting him in an inclusive setting.”
“Having a child with a disability, Lisa and I always wanted to have him be able to achieve as much as he could achieve,” he said.
For more than a decade, Jim Swantek has been coaching, volunteering and supporting his son in various sports — helping Justin develop socially and educationally.
“He’s a coach for three different sports and a unified partner — a person who supports a person with disabilities in their game,” Lisa explained. “It takes up a lot of his time, pretty much year round.”
Jim said he was inspired to get involved in Justin’s sports and development because of how important his family is to him.
“Family first,” he said. “It all comes back to what you can do to help your kids in their lives.”
Jim has also volunteered with the Cherokee County Miracle League, an adapted baseball league serving athletes unable to participate in typical programs because of a disability, for more than a decade, his wife said.
Robert Strozier, a coordinator and volunteer for Cherokee Miracle League, said Jim is great with the Miracle League athletes.
“For the past 12 years, Jim has literally and figuratively pitched in as a volunteer for Miracle League,” Strozier said. “He truly cares about all of the players and has a calm soothing demeanor when working with the players.”
Jim said he loves to see the growth of all the players in Miracle League, and that he can help many young people with special needs means a lot.
Not only does he coach, but Jim also chaperones various sports teams and Special Olympics athletes when they have travel games, Swantek said.
“He’s a chaperone, not just for Justin, but for other athletes with special needs, too,” his wife said. “He enjoys doing that, and I feel like he’s a good role model.”
Lisa Swantek said her husband’s involvement helps spread the responsibility for Justin’s development between the two parents.
Hardworking, patient, caring and dedicated are just a few of the words used to describe the Canton father of four, Jim Swantek.