Blog Post: memories of Bob Swisher

Bob’s Story

  • April 4th, 2023
  • By Pathway Caring for Children

Bob Swisher was a beloved Pathway Caring for Children Board Member offering an important perspective and this excerpt is shared in memory of Bob and from the perspective of Pathway founder, Jim Bridges.

I want to tell you the story of one of those first boys. The home opened in November of 1973 with the goal of creating a place where neglected and abused boys could live through their problems with people who were committed to them. My wife Velma and I were the original staff members, with help from a few part-time college students.  

Bob has given me permission to talk about him. He was the fifth boy to come to live with us, and he and I had many conflicts. There were many battles between us, because of Bob’s strong-willed nature. There were many times when Bob and I were standing nose to nose with each other because he wanted to do something and I would not let him do that, because I was concerned that it would hurt him.  

I often wondered if both of us would survive this experience.  

We did survive, however, and I give the credit for that to my wife Velma, and I believe Bob would give the credit to her as well, for she was always ready to listen to Bob, to care about him, to show him how to do something. 

Bob went out to make his way in the world. I lost track of him.  

Then one day several years after Bob had left us, I had a problem with the sewer drain in my home. I looked in the yellow pages and called a drain cleaning company. When the truck came out, it said on the side of it “Swisher Drain and Sewer Company.” Bob got out of the truck.  

We sat on my front porch for a long time that day, reminiscing about the time that we had been together in the group home, I as the director and he as a student. He told me about his family, and it was obvious that he loved his family a great deal, more than he had ever been loved as a child.  

But the story doesn’t end there, for one day several years after that experience on my front porch, I came home and picked up my newspaper. There on the front page was Bob Swisher. He was helping to build a Habitat for Humanity home for a family in need. 

So this is success. A child grows up, becomes a productive member of our society, and loves his family more than he had been loved, and gives away a part of his life to help other people.  

AND the story does not end there, because Bob has become a committed member of our Board of Directors. He is giving back what has been given to him.