Planes, Trains & All Things Mechanical: Volunteer Of The Year 2020

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce George Swartz as volunteer of the year for 2020.  George was recently selected by the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s board of directors from among the Museum’s corps of more than 150 active volunteers for this honor.

After a 35-year career as a corporate pilot for Armstrong World Industries, George has retired from globe trotting for a living and is now indulging his many interests, including but not limited to world travel, amassing railroad memorabilia like lanterns, tools and insulators and creating model train layouts.   He notes that his love for trains began at age four, with American Flyer pieces, which he still collects. George is a regular and valued volunteer on the Pennsylvania Middle Division operating model train layout located in the Museum’s second floor gallery.

George knew he wanted to be a private pilot since his second grade class tour of the Lancaster Airport.  A graduate of the Piedmont Aerospace Institute, he learned everything about aircraft, not just how to fly a plane.  Swartz is justifiably proud of achieving more than 74,000 hours of flight safety.  His knowledge of mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and various other processes has served him well not only in his career as a pilot but in building his own home and in his model train hobby.

“Volunteering at the Museum is so much fun,” George says, “and I love every moment of it.  The camaraderie is terrific and everyone, volunteers and staff, is so upbeat.  I particularly enjoy interacting with our patrons and making amazing connections with people from all walks of life.”

A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, George currently resides in Lititz.  He is the father of an adult son and an adult daughter, who he readily helps with home renovation projects.  Until recently, he and his KPETS therapy dog Sunny visited nursing home residents.  One thing on his bucket list is to learn more about the history and culture of Native Americans.

“Since coming on board as one of our volunteers,” says Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania director Patrick Morrison, “George has proven to be a jack of many trades, and he is the warmest and nicest guy you have ever wanted to meet.  He epitomizes a master class of volunteers that can willingly jump in to any assignment and give it their all.  George is a skilled interpreter, a great listener, an accomplished model railroader, an efficient researcher, a capable problem solver and an outstanding role model.”

George will be formally recognized as the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s volunteer of the year by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission at a ceremony in Harrisburg in April 2020 and during the Museum’s annual Members Day banquet at The Warehouse at the Cork Factory Hotel on Saturday, September 26, 2020.

Congratulations, George!