It is a year of anniversaries for Swarner Communications in Lakewood, celebrating not only the 60th anniversary of the Ranger newspaper (serving Army personnel and their families at Joint Base Lewis-McChord), but also the 30th anniversary of the NW Airlifter (at McChord Field), and the 10th year for the Weekly Volcano, the company’s arts and entertainment newspaper.
“It’s funny how all three papers fell in line like that,” said Ken Swarner, who publishes the newspapers with his brother, Ron Swarner.
The Ranger first published January 19, 1951, owned and operated by Merrill Benson, a professor of journalism at the University of Washington in Seattle. Tom Swarner, Benson’s student, came to Lakewood in 1964 after graduation, and his two sons joined the operation as pre-teens, then full time in the late 1980s after college. The brothers bought the papers from their parents in 2006.
“We are proud to have provided our nation’s heroes with quality papers for 60 years, and we look forward to the next 60 years,” Ken Swarner added.