Our people: Farwell veteran stays busy

Will Anderson says he is semi-retired at the State Line Tribune in Farwell, where he was named editor in 2010.

Tony Bullocks: CMI staff photo

Will Anderson of Farwell stands in front of the replica obelisk Thursday in Farwell's city park.

Anderson works with Peter Harding, a political officer for the Ecuadorian embassy, and Ecuadorian marines to clear minefields in 2001.

A statue of Will Anderson's grandparents, Gabe and Belva Anderson, sits outside a bank on Main Street in Farwell.

Will Anderson and his wife, Ginger. This picture was taken in 2011 after Anderson retired from the federal government and came home to Farwell.

Anderson in 1985/86 Master of Ceremonies during a talent show while on patrols in the Arabian Sea.

Anderson is a Farwell native who served 26 years in the Navy. He returned home upon his retirement. He also teaches courses at the Clovis campus for Wayland Baptist University.

You covered Farwell High School football games for the State Line Tribune in high school in the 1970s. Talk about your apparent lifelong interest in journalism and writing.

I got pretty banged up in a crash in 1970 and the doctors told me to stay out of contact sports for a while. I still wanted to participate in some way, so I was very happy when the Tribune editor in those days, John Getz, gave me the chance to write up the ball games. My English teacher, Lucille Franse, encouraged me to continue writing and I've done that in my free time ever since.

Tell us about some of your adventures in the Navy.

  • While I was stationed with the Royal Navy in Dartmouth, England (1981-1983) I got to create the Royal Navy hanggliding club and I was the coordinator for the Royal Navy ski team's competition in the International skiing championship in Feisch, Switzerland.
  • At our Embassy in Brazil, one big highlight was living in a treehouse for four days in the Amazon rainforest, getting closer to nature up to the point that some monkey jumped me and stole the dog-tags right off my neck. The little devil is still passing himself off in Brazil as me…

You led the community effort to build the obelisk in the Farwell City Park. Tell us about that.

The West Texas Historical Association is copying every page of every Tribune going back to 1940. On their first visit to the Tribune, they ran across a photo of the Ozark Trail obelisk that stood from about 1922 or so until 1940 right in the middle of what is now Highway 84. (The obelisk was toppled when the dirt road was paved and designated Highway 84.) The gas station behind it in that photo (the old building still stands) was run by my dad and his friend as "Bob's and Pip's Gas House" during the depression. So when Tribune publishers Mike and Rob Pomper made the push to collect funds for a replica obelisk to be put up in the city park, I was very happy to join in the campaign.

Where were you on 9/11? What were you thinking that day? Talk about what happened in the weeks/months that followed.

I was the Naval attache in our embassy in Quito, Ecuador, on 9/11. Watching the tragedy that day, everyone was speculating on what our nation would do next, and I thought then that if the Navy called some of the old steamships out of mothballs and put them back to sea, maybe they'd do the same for me. (My specialty in the fleet, steam propulsion, had faded into obsolescence about 1990.) Sadly, no recalls to the fleet for the old steamships or for me either. When I reported to the Pentagon a year later, my admiral's office (where the jet liner had hit) had been completely rebuilt and was already being used.

What are your hobbies?

My primary interest is the jailhouse ministry in Parmer County. I began doing that in the old territorial prison in Guam (1996-1999) with a retired Marine who had become a pastor. My best friends over coffee when I returned to Farwell included my Sunday school teacher from 40-something years before, Ralph Franse, who allowed me to join him and Larry Widener of Bovina and Jesse Cantu of Clovis in the jailhouse ministry he started here in 1995.

My No. 1 hobby this year is getting to know my two new grandsons, Cameron and Henry.

Tell us something about you most people don't know.

Everyone in Farwell remembers me on a unicycle from about 1965 to about 1970, but I'd never done the math before.

Pulling out my old calculator, tap tap tap tap, and by my best estimates, if you added up all my mileage on that old unicycle from those days end to end, I believe I must have covered just over 1,800 miles on one wheel. If you needed an answer.

— Compiled by CMI staff writer Christina Gonzales

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