EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Carol Swanson has spent a lifetime in volunteer work, but it wasn't until she began her comedy act, that she felt truly fulfilled in helping people.
When Swanson puts on her costume, including a skirt of potato chip bags, her alter ego, 'The Little Old lady from Pasadena,' begins to emerge. Ironically, Carol's comedy career as the Little Old Lady began 13 years ago with a heart attack.
"I had a heart attack and the doctor told me to get into some type of health program, so I asked him about tap dancing. I love to dance," Carol said.
After getting a go-ahead from her doctor, Carol got four friends together and formed a tap dancing group.
"My tap group won first place in nationals for the Little Old Lady from Pasadena; that's the largest trophy I have," she said.
After that, Carol figured the Little Old Lady from Pasadena was a good character to have around.
"I just took that and that's what I call myself, although I've never lived in Pasadena," said Carol.
Carol began taking her act, which included some dancing, personal experiences and funny stories, to senior citizens homes, and before long, she was invited to be a contestant in the "Miss Texas Senior America" contest.
"It's not about beauty, it's defining the senior woman. It's to show we can still stay active," she said.
Before becoming an entertainer, Carol spent years serving the public. She was the executive director for Greater East Texas Chapter of March of Dimes for 11 years, and was outreach coordinator for the East Texas Crisis Center for three years. She was also a volunteer for hospice, the Salvation Army and the American Cancer Society.
Although she continues to volunteer, entertaining is what is most fulfilling for Carol. Her singing bear is especially popular at senior citizens homes, but whether it's the bear, her funny costume or her dancing, whatever makes people happy, whatever makes them smile or laugh, Carol Swanson as the Little Old Lady from Pasadena is there to please.