Korean War veteran, 92, earns high school diploma from Victor

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CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — A Korean War veteran living in Canandaigua earned his high school diploma at age 92.

Elvin Swanson is part of the class of 2023 at the Victor Central School District, where his grandchildren graduated from. He served on the front lines as a Marine and founded a construction business downstate before pursuing his diploma.

Born in Massachusetts, Swanson lost his father as a toddler to a car crash. After that, Swanson’s mother brought him and his three brothers to Finland. Swanson attended school but left at age 13 to work at a bakery. About five years later, he returned to the U.S. to work at a bakery and construction job in New York City.

When the Korean War broke out, Swanson was drafted and served on the mortar crew as a Marine. He was just a couple of days away from being discharged when he was injured by shrapnel. He was taken to a Red Cross ship and received treatment for his injuries in Hawaii and later in New York.

“He was on the front lines in Korea and got injured, got a Purple Heart, got shrapnel in his lung and his leg, and came home and started a successful home-building business and here we are today,” said his daughter Debra Rath of Victor.

Now, Swanson will celebrate his 93rd birthday on Saturday as a high school graduate.