Crossroads Seafood in Hernando was an epicenter of support and generosity for one local man Saturday.
Retired veteran law enforcement officer Roger Swatzyna was on the receiving end of community love during a benefit in his honor. Family and friends of the former Hernando police officer rallied around Swatzyna after finishing recent treatments for cancer.
The benefit held was to raise money for Swatzyna’s medical costs. Barbecue alligator, Boston butts and crawfish, were all sold for fundraising. A silent auction and raffles were held throughout the day. Live music was provided by Beetle Bailey and helicopter fly overs drew a large attendance at the Highway 51 spot.
“You can’t put words to this,” said Swatzyna. “Everybody has worked so hard to put this all together. I never anticipated anything like this. There are friends here, 90 percent of them I know and the rest are out to help a good cause. There are so many that contributed to this event.”
A native of Memphis, Swatzyna has served over 27 years with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, retiring in 2005. He then jumped on board the same year with the Hernando Police Department until retiring from there on March 26.
“In this community, Hernando is impressive for its charity and caring,” Swatzyna added.
All three of Swatzyna’s brothers were present at the benefit, Ron, Steve and Roman. Roman along with 24 others helped organize the event. Roman said on Monday he didn’t have a total dollar amount raised but said it was more than expected.
“We still have some other expenses to pay from Saturday, like the tents,” said Roman. “We’ll know more next week after the silent auction and raffles are settled.”
In 2019, Swatzyna was diagnosed with gondinal/intestinal cancer and has recently completed his treatment.
“I did the chemo and the radiation,” said Swatzyna. “Then I had a whipple surgery, where they take out half of your stomach and part of your pancreas. They gave me chemo after that, the pills. That stuff burned me up real bad. I didn’t like that at all.”
After the first of 2021, Swatzyna began to feel a familiar pain again.
“The godinal cancer had gotten into some of my lymph nodes and my back,” said Swatzyna. “Now I’ve got some in my liver. My doctor put radioactive seeds into the liver to hopefully kill the tumor. It’s not a cure, just maybe buy some time. That’s where we are in the treatment. Hoping for the best and praying for the best.”
“I can’t thank people enough for this show of love today,” Swatzyna said.