Local Veteran, Mortgage Broker and Palm Coast Resident Brings Positivity and Growth to Flagler County’s Veterans

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Meet Stephen Swarner, local Palm Coast resident, mortgage broker, non-profit founder and veteran, and this month’s feature for Positive Person of the Month. We sat down with Swarner to talk about his story, his ups and his downs and what he hopes to inspire in the community of Flagler County.

How does it feel to be nominated by the community as a positive and influential person? It feels good to have people out there that may look up to someone like me. I think being a positive person is very influential in business, I think it’s influential in just being a good human being. It’s influential to the people that you’re around. So I think it’s really cool that somebody in the community thought that I was a positive influence.

Has your positive attitude and lifestyle always been a priority in your life? 

I think so, I was always an encouraging guy, like on the football team, the wrestling team, to push somebody to be better. I’ve always had that mindset to everybody get better, we all win together.
Has there ever been a time you struggled with having a positive attitude, or outlook on life? Yeah, obviously, you know, I have a nonprofit operation 22, and that’s to help veterans with mental health and PTSD and suicide awareness. So I battled with that coming home from the military. My mindset wasn’t always in that positive realm, I went through some struggles in depression. And then one day I really took a look in the mirror and realized I was playing the victim role a lot, and I was making myself negative. People around you can’t make you be negative. You can’t control other people’s actions, those uncontrollable things that other people do. You can’t control what they do. You can only control how you react to those things and how you want to act. So once I realize that PTSD became very easy to get over, and now I do that to help other veterans. It was a God thing started going to church, looking in the mirror and not playing the victim roll, I want to be better. I have four boys, so I’m something that they can look up to, and I’m proud of that myself; but every day I try and get better, and I tell them when they leave the house, I always tell my kids I love them, but then I tell them to be better than me. 
Church and gratitude and I have a few people that I kind of look up to in the world and how their positive impacts on people all the time.
And when you see those people, that are just constantly being positive, you see this success that follows them, and it’s something that everybody should want to be successful and happy.

What would you tell someone who is struggling with negativity in their life? 

I’d give them a hug. The first thing I do is ask them what their goals are; once you have somebody’s true goals in mind, it’s easy to coach them and to put them on a path of success. You have a certain goal of what you want to do in life, whether it be a business, or with your relationships at home, your husband, your wife or friendship or fitness goals, whatever your goals are. You get those and then you put them on a path to getting to that goal, and you can’t do that with a negative mindset. You have to be positive. You have to encourage yourself every single day. You’re your own worst enemy, you’re going to be the biggest critic you have. What you say to me is not going to pay my bills. It’s not going to help me get up in the morning and go work out. It’s not going to help me raise my kids. It’s not going to pay for my kids soccer tournament, it’s not going to do anything for me.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Jesus first; and then probably The Rock. The Rock is a super positive dude, I mean, that’s one guy you never hear anything negative about. He’s always encouraging people to be better.

How has Flagler County’s community inspired you to keep going with your mission, your positivity, and making Flagler County a better place?  There’s a lot of veterans in Flagler County and being able to be close to them, and watch their change is amazing. We’ll watch it in veterans who go from struggling with the battle of suicide and things like that, and then coming out to one of our events.

Helping them get over PTSD, holding each other accountable and then watching them grow in life. That’s amazing. I think that’s the coolest thing you could do, is see another human being win and being a part of their success.

Lastly, what do you plan to inspire in the community here? 

I would say, less negativity, like less people talking about each other and more people shopping local, helping local businesses, encouraging others to get better. Celebrating other people’s wins, I think, is a huge thing. I guess my goal is to help everybody else get their goals. I think that’s a pretty good goal.
By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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