RICK J. DELANTY, San Clemente
Fred Swegles has given more to San Clemente than can possibly be acknowledged in a letter to the editor. At the very least, I would like to offer my humble gratitude for what he has contributed to our community as a writer, photographer, and—most of all—as a lover of “all things San Clemente.”
I would compare him to TV personality and travel guide Huell Howser, in the way he has been able to search out historical background, interesting details, describe experiences, and elevate both our understanding and appreciation of our “Spanish Village by the Sea”—and beyond.
Think about the many gifts Fred exercised over a period of decades as a San Clementean, and journalist/reporter: he was a writer, a photographer, an interviewer, a world-traveler, a surfer, and most of all, a mostly unbiased observer of events and issues, able to translate legalities, controversy, and opposing viewpoints to his reading public in an interesting and concise manner.
Through him, I discovered our sister city in Argentina, our city founder’s experience as mayor of Seattle, where our street names originated, famous people who visited San Clemente, surfing history’s intersection with San Onofre and San Clemente, the significance of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture here and around the world, the importance of lifeguards to our beach community, former President Nixon’s stay at Casa Pacifica near Cotton’s Point, Olympic athletes who trained at our city pool, the toll road’s potential impact on South Orange County, and political issues too numerous to count.
And who else would faithfully and consistently attend all those City Council meetings to report on all those agenda items in the paper?
During his long career as a journalist, Fred gave far more than he got. But he loved life, the people of our local community, and the place he lived. I pray that I might be as inspired in my own life as Fred has been in his, as an artist, citizen, and human being who is grateful for his place in the world.
Thank you, Fred, for all you have done and been for the city of San Clemente—you are, as Huell would say, “Amazing!”