Helping others caps dentist’s ... List of Accomplishments
I first met Dr. Edwin Swords III when I was merely a child. He wasn’t a dentist then. But he is the son of a dentist. He is the son of Dr. Edwin Swords Jr. and Jackie Swords. Being the son of a successful dentist, one might assume that Edwin was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. And although no one who knows them would doubt that the family was successful, handouts weren’t the way of the Swords family. When we were teens, Edwin and I mowed and weeded folks’ yards as a way of making spending money. It would be hot as fire when we were outside working but you never heard him complain. His parents, much like mine, understood that children needed to understand the value of a dollar. When we weren’t working we were playing football in the back yard of the Swordses’ home. There would be as many as a dozen or more on some days that would spend an entire afternoon playing. Not once during that time did you ever hear any complaints coming from Doc or Mrs. Swords. They seemed to enjoy the sound of children’s voices playing on a Sunday afternoon. Even as a teen, Edwin was many times the moral compass for some of us who had a tendency to listen to our bad voice as opposed to the good. I recall one night I called Edwin from a party and asked him to pick me up. I wasn’t the only one that night, but I am not going to throw anyone else under the bus here. I didn’t think I needed to be driving on this particular night and knew that Edwin would come for no other reason than he had a friend in need. But calling Edwin for something like that had its repercussions also. The ride was accompanied by a small speech on the wiles of the devil and the consequences of wickedness. But he did it because he cared about his friends. Don’t let what I have said thus far make you think that Edwin is a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to a good party. Nothing could be further from the truth. But Edwin has always known that a good time can be had without any artificial encouragement. It would be his desire to do good that would shape the coming years of his life and the lives of many others less fortunate. After completing his many years of education, Edwin started practicing dentistry with his father in the mid-1980s. He has been successful like his father before him. He and his wife, Dana, have raised three children while being supporters of many local charities. But Edwin has taken his gift to places in the world where he receives no fanfare. He has completed mission trips in several countries. He has been to Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru, working with children in poverty and some that have been abandoned. He was instrumental in the building of an orphanage in Cachora, Peru, called the Village of the Children. He remains on the board that oversees this orphanage. Imagine how different his life and the lives of so many children around the world would be today had Edwin been raised to believe he was above hard work. But Doc and Mrs. Swords made sure that didn’t happen. And although it is doubtful that any of the children Edwin has helped will ever know it, his journey to them began many years ago when Edwin was just a boy. It began when we sweated our summers away learning the value of a dollar. It began when Edwin as a teen would leave the comfort of his home late at night to give a ride to me and others when we didn’t know how to act. Edwin and I still play golf together. He still works on my teeth when I bother to show up. And he has to use the same patience with me when I sit in his dental chair as he did when we were teens. Because I am the worst patient ever. Edwin and Dana are my friends. They have been my friends through good times and bad. My dad used to say, “That Edwin is a hard working boy.” And he was right. But his work isn’t just about the value of the dollar. It’s about the value of people’s lives less fortunate. Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.