Montana Riecken: Where were you originally from?
Roger Andersen: I was raised in Rosalie. I had 12 years of elementary school.
What was your childhood like?
Mother had left me when I was young. My father was in the military. I contribute all my accomplishments to my grandmother. My uncle was 10 years older but we bonded like brothers because me and my 12 other “brothers and sisters” lived together.
When you were younger what did you want to grow up to be?
I tried the service and signed up for the draft but construction had always been in my blood.
What career did you choose to pursue?
Construction. In the summer of 1955, I worked for construction businesses. In 1960 I went to Colorado and worked for construction companies. The only reason I went to Colorado was because my teacher and mentor told me there was good work up there.
What else would you do?
I never thought of anything else besides construction. I did have a chance to farm but turned it down. I remember I was out in a guy’s field, from Bancroft, and he said I could farm all his ground and he could get me equipment if I needed it.
How long have you lived here?
Since the year 1965.
Why did you choose to stay here?
I’ve worked for 40 years. I worked in Colorado for 5 years and came back not knowing what to expect about work in Lyons. I found work within the first few weeks and figured Lyons was a good place, so I stayed.
This teacher from school, who found me some work, was one of the best things that happened to me.
Biggest success in life?
Making a decent living in a small town. I am also proud of building some of the stepping stones for houses in the town and never, not once, having to go back to fix something.
What does the community need?
New businesses. Improve old businesses to keep them going and improve the school. School is vital to the town.
What are some challenges you had to overcome in your life?
I was raised by my grandmother and grandfather. My grandfather died when I was 10. Grandpa and Grandma had 11 kids and he was the 12th.
Was there an experience that set you on a different path?
Not really. My only desire was to always keep working in construction. Drafting was selling point in business. I was also an architect and learned it by myself.
My favorite is welding, making yardbirds, and lawn art. I did make a motorcycle out of scrap metal that had a guy sitting on it and gave that to my son.
Any advice for me?
Work habits are the best things for kids your age. Welding and hard work equals money.