Bob Swanson has been a steady, respected presence on the Storm Lake Police Department for over 30 years. On Tuesday, Swanson was honored by citizens and co-workers with a retirement party held at the fire station.
There is no rocking chair in his future - after less than a week of "retirement" he begins a new post as the city's code enforcement officer.
"We will remember Bob as a man who kept his cool in intense situations - and it has rubbed off on the other officers in those situations," Police Chief Mark Prosser said. "One time I recall is when we had a tragic stabbing of a few children and by the time I had arrived on scene, Bob was there administering first aid and was making sound decisions and those children were well-served."
Swanson did admit that the last day of work was "unreal."
"I love my job and working with everyone and when I walked out of the office for the last time, it was like a dream or something," he said.
Swanson added that over 50 officers have been on and off the force since he started and only a few have left due to retirement.
"Everyone knows that I love my family and I'm always grateful to officers I worked with," Swanson said. "I am especially grateful to the men I worked with on the night shift who helped me get home safely to see my family."
Swanson was given a gift certificate to Menards from his fellow officers.
"Bob is known to us as "Bob The Builder," Assistant Chief Todd Erskine said. " I have learned how to single roofs and other projects over the years helping Bob. So we, the police officers, went and got Bob a gift certificate."
Erskine and Swanson have worked together for 24 years.
"Bob has been my supervisor and we have worked together and were co-captians together," Erskine said. "Bob will be missed. There wasn't a person Bob wasn't willing to help."
Swanson was also awarded an artistic rendering of a Storm Lake Police squad car and his badge, by the Police Association.
As Swanson retires, new cadets are graduating from the academy to join the force, and Swanson thinks the new recruits will be fine.
"When I started I was the young one on the staff. I think they will be fine, there is a good staff to build on," Swanson said.
Swanson will be working with the City staff on code enforcement and building inspections.
"I'll start on Monday and will have training, I still don't know all that I'll be doing but I'm looking forward to it," Swanson said.
Even though Swanson will be leaving the police department, he will look forward to keeping up with his friends on the force.
"I'll always look forward to catching up everyone," Swanson said. "I'll see them around and working."
Even though Swanson may not be uniform, he won't be leaving Storm Lake any time soon.
"I love Storm Lake," Swanson said. "My children grew up here, I worked here, I just love it here."