CLA Award: Extending assistance to those in uniform

Adviser helped create the Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism

Oct 13, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Liz Skinner

Volunteer of the Year:

Michael Swallow

Michael Swallow received the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013 for helping create the Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism, which supports local military families in Ohio.

Although he's not a veteran, his father served in Vietnam and Mr. Swallow wanted to give his four children a stronger connection with the military. Being two generations away from the era of the draft, Mr. Swallow said he felt his children likely wouldn't know many soldiers.

“The foundation is a way to bring the patriotic spirit to our family and everyone else in the organization,” Mr. Swallow said.

Mr. Swallow, senior vice president at CBIZ Retirement Plan Services in Cleveland, co-founded the foundation in 2011, and within two months, it had raised more than $42,000 from its first annual gala. Neopat has donated more than $250,000 to about 3,000 individuals in the military and their families so far.

CBIZ is a significant sponsor of Neopat, and many of Mr. Swallow's colleagues are individual sponsors.

In his acceptance speech in New York last month, Mr. Swallow said he was honored just to be among the 15 advisers nominated for the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation awards.

“You represent the very best of the type of influence that financial advisers can have in this country, in what is the greatest industry in this country,” he said.

Mr. Swallow has a project in mind for the $20,000 charitable gift that comes with the award. It will help a soldier in Northeast Ohio who was hit by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in April 2012 and had to endure six months of intensive rehabilitation. He then purchased a house with his wife and 6-month-old daughter, only to find it was filled with toxic mold.

Neopat has put the family up in an apartment for the past six months while the case was investigated and the house gutted.

“The $20,000 will help that family rebuild their house,” he said.

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