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Swanson a hit at VOICE luncheon in Corsicana, Texas

23 Apr Posted by in Business | 4 comments

April 22, 2010

Happily Ever After

Swanson a hit at VOICE luncheon

From Staff Reports Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Hilarious comedian and public speaker Kelly Swanson was the main attraction at the annual VOICE Inc. luncheon, held Thursday at The Cook Center.

Viable Options In Community Endeavors (VOICE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children and giving families the tools to achieve healthy relationships. Founder Lois Jean Hart, who passed away in September 2009, was honored by chief executive officer Lynda Sloan.

“I count myself fortunate that I was able to sit at her feet and learn what service to children is all about,” Sloan said.

Following a silent auction with many items which were donated by area individuals and businesses, a “haystack salad” prepared by Affordable Affairs Catering was served to the crowd of men and women alike. Sloan thanked the board, luncheon committee, and Brad Haynie and the Derrick Days committee for allowing VOICE Inc. to be a part of the Derrick Days celebration again this year.

The Gioia Keeney Service to Children award was presented by Dr. Kent Rogers, longtime head of the Corsicana-Navarro County Public Health District. This year’s recipient of the award was Ida Pearl Reynolds, a nurse practitioner for many years at the PEDIA (Planning Early Developmental Interagency Action) Clinic, located at the health department.

“If we ever had a Hall of Fame, Pearl, if she ever put her stethoscope down, would be a member,” Rogers said.

Reynolds has served at the health department for the last 35 years. Rogers said that her work ethic and “unyielding dedication” served her well when she was training to become a registered nurse, then again to become a nurse practitioner.

“It was a difficult step in the era that she did it,” he said. “It took a lot of moxy, self-confidence and work.”

Kelly Swanson, comedian and motivational speaker, as well as the author of “Who Hijacked My Fairytale?” took the stage and kept the room in stitches. The Georgia native now resides in North Carolina, and her accent contributes to her Southern charm.

“I asked Wilbur, my 5-year-old son, what he was going to be when he grew up,” Swanson said. “He looked me in the eye and said without hesitation, ‘Cinderella.’”

Swanson said even though it was not one of her gifts, she was going to sing, and entertained the audience with personalized versions of “One Day My Prince Will Come” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” among others.

“Every one of you is going to find yourself in your fairy tale where a page has been ripped out,” she said. “If it’s not you, count your blessings. If it is you, it is going to be all right. This too shall pass.”

She said her gifts are comedy, her “characters,” and her personality, and she uses them to “come alongside people when things aren’t going right” and encourage them.

“When I speak outside the South, they say we’re so nice,” she said. “I tell them we know a secret … You can say anything about anybody if you start off, ‘Well, I don’t mean to be ugly …’ and end it with a ‘Bless their heart.’”

Swanson said she had a foot in two different worlds — one foot in the world of “expectations” and another in her writing and development of characters. She claimed to be the shy kid on the bus who got picked on, and only wanted to get on stage and make people laugh.

“I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and jumped,” she said. “And I never looked back. Well, I do look back once in a while to think what would have happened if I’d never jumped at all.”

A story of a young girl who only wanted to dance, and practiced for two weeks in her carport prior to cheerleaders tryouts took a painful turn when Swanson exhibited her original dance — only to be met with thunderous laughter.

“If I had known then what I know now, I would have danced anyway, and not let the world define me,” she said. “That was also the first day I discovered I could make people laugh.

“Life doesn’t promise a ‘Happily Ever After,’ but maybe it does, if you know where to look. We each have the power to make a difference.”

Swanson described a woman she knew growing up, who marched to a very different drummer. The woman had a silver butterfly on a clip she wore in her hair, and the name “Earl” on her shirt. That woman, who many overlooked, told Swanson once she was “special,” and had a “light” about her. That meant a lot to  Swanson, and she has held that memory dear for many years. She took the opportunity to thank the members of the audience for their contributions.

“Thank you for the paths you chose, and what you do,” she said. “You walked a path that may not be covered in fame or glory, but you were called to take a path — and you answered.

“Have faith. Dust yourself off and keep going. Life does promise ‘happily ever afters,’ you just have to know where to look.”

—————

Deanna Brown may be contacted via e-mail at deanna@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Sound Off” on this story? E-mail soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com.

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  1. Malcolm Geigel05-18-10

    Nice post! You truly have a wonderful way of writing which I find captivating! I will definitely be bookmarking you and returning to your blog. In fact, your post reminded me about a strange thing that happened to me the other day. I’ll tell you about that later…

  2. Alex Hupe05-20-10

    great information! Thanks for posting! I will bookmark your site.

  3. Andrew A. Sailer05-22-10

    I love comedy, it’s medicine for the soul.

  4. Aryan02-28-12

    Hey, I’m doing a speech on you at school in English Class and I need a date to correspond with you. Like your birthday, when you began speaking, or when your first motivational speech was spoken. please and thank you.

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