The Greenville story of Winton Swanson

By: Wyatt Edward Stephens

What is the most interesting fact about yourself? I am the eighth individual named Winton in my family.

How long have you been in Greenville? Since 2005

What is your background? I believe God called me to share portions of my story. One of my purposes in life, to me, is to be open. We have all been wounded, we have all suffered to some degree and some of us have suffered because of our own damages or damages of others. However, things can be restored. We can live in freedom. Trials will still come, they are going to come. However, I am finding it easier to have Joy within the trial of the storm. 

I was born in Alabama and grew up in Augusta, Georgia which is strange because my mother was from San Francisco and my father from St. Louis. At the age of ten, my father would leave our family and over time, I would start to have two sets of parents, a stepmother and stepfather. 

My Dad leaving our family was devastating as I felt responsible for many of the things that happened, even though I know that I should not have felt responsible. This feeling of being responsible, guilt, had a long-lasting impact in my life and enabled me to become a people pleaser, which wasn’t ideal for trying to comprehend certain situations that I went through in my early life. It was troublesome, I tried to find the root issue of everything that happened, I tried to analyze what exactly did happen. I kept putting band-aids on situations while I was continuing to dig and dig. I finally found that it was the Fear of Man that was the root cause, I am not responsible for certain things that happened. 

The Grace of God gave my father and I both a restoration in our relationship but it did take many years. It took a lot of humility but my Dad essentially came to me, showed humility and we have and continue to have deep conversations. He knows the impact that things earlier in life had on me, he claims that those events had the biggest impact in his life. My Dad had to revisit his walk with the Lord and while doing so, he came to the Lord. I am learning that everyone can have restoration if willing. 

I just found out that my Dad now has cancer, which is so hard to tell you [Wyatt of ShareGVL], he has not been given a good prognosis and he also has Parkinson’s Disease. Time is so precious, it really is. I am so thankful that my Dad and I have our relationship, I cannot imagine what it would be like if we did not. With the exception of my husband and family, everything else has been put on the back burner. Nothing else really matters besides the relationship with my father, my Dad. 

My husband, Brett and I, got married when I was young, I was twenty. Brett and I have two children, Rebecca and our son Huston, he is twenty-two. Brett and I have had a roller-coaster ride of a marriage. I frequently say that Brett came into our marriage with very little baggage, almost like a shaving-kit. I, however, brought my closet and all the luggage with it. Brett has been very patient with me. 

What are you currently reading and/or watching?  I like trash tv, Southern Charm, whatever it might be, trash tv makes me feel somewhat normal. 

What are your hobbies? I love to paint, I started painting three years ago. I also have been scrapbooking for the past twenty-five years so it is very neat to say that I have twenty-five years worth of memories. I have also been learning how to take care of myself and with that, I am exercising daily. At my age, it is more about being healthy than that of body image. My passion, however, is being transparent and open to women that are in need. 

Every Wednesday night, my husband and I have a date night. We cannot talk about Chick-fil-a [work], and you do not have to dress up fancy but cannot also be casual. Also, no cellphone! 

What is your favorite phrase and/or motto? Keep it real

How would you describe Greenville? It is home. It is beautiful.

What about Greenville makes you proud? Growing up in Augusta, Georgia, there was a lot of racial tension. We do not have this in Greenville, or at least, I do not feel this way. I am very thankful for that. 

I also feel blessed that my husband and I can serve our community, even if it is in a business realm, this has been a blessing that Chick-fil-A has provided to the both of us.