Lyndon Hagestuen, Pine City’s 2019 Citizen of the Year is almost a Pine City local. Not quite – but almost. It makes him chuckle.“Somebody said, ‘How long have you been here?’ And I say, ‘Fifty years.’ ‘Oh, so you’re not a local.’”
But he well remembers that day he came here back in 1970. Hagesteun was hired by Clarence Espeseth to teach Special Ed at Pine City schools and he didn’t waste any time getting to town from Moorhead State University.
“I graduated on a Saturday, and came out here Sunday night with no place to stay,” Hagesteun said. “And this is what made me fall in love with Pine City was, I ended up at the motel, and the people there said, ‘Oh, you can’t afford to stay here. We know of a place that has a basement for rent.’ So she took me over there and introduced me and they accepted me. And that was Hank Mellium. And that is where I found out about Pine City friendship. They came downstairs after I had emptied my little suitcase and said, ‘Why don’t you come up for pie and ice cream?’”
He spent the next 35 years in Pine City’s Special Ed program. He made a lot of close friends, and he did his best for his students.
“They were good years,” he said. “I had good kids.”
He and his wife Ann raised their daughter Jennifer in Pine City, and they joined Our Redeemer Lutheran Church.
“My church – my faith – is very important to me,” he said.
He served on the board of the church. And then he, John Orr, and other friends and members of their church family got involved in doing projects to help people in town in need of a hand. They have helped clean up after storms, made a home handicapped-accessible and much, much more.
“I get to meet a whole bunch of people,” Hagesteun said. “And I think the whole thing comes down to, not just me but all the guys, is we care about people.”
It’s work that has kept him busy through his retirement years.
“The classic one for me, and the one that maybe made me feel the best: John [Oare] and I helped put in a door opener. And she said, ‘Lyndon, will you come in?’ And she said, ‘What are you going to do now?’ And I said, ‘Go home and have a beer.’ And she said, ‘Oh my goodness. It’s not five o’clock.’ And I said, ‘It’s five o’clock someplace.’ And then it wasn’t long until she said, ‘Would you be willing to have a beer with me?’ And I says, ‘I certainly will.’ And we talked about her history, and I think it was almost an hour before I got out.
“And then we ended up moving her to assisted living in Pine City,” he continued. “I got a bunch of guys together, and she sat in her chair and teared up and said, ‘Lyndon, who are these guys?’ And I said, ‘They’re friends.’ And she said, ‘My goodness, I didn’t know I had friends.’ That’s what it’s all about.”
He said he plans to keep on helping others for as long as he can.
“I hope I can continue,” he said. “My health is good. I don’t get up on roofs anymore, thank goodness.
“I couldn’t be much happier with the way my life turned out, living here,” he added. “Pine City, it’s unique. Obviously, I’ve been here for 50 years, and I’m not much of a mover. What better thing can you ask for than to be accepted by the community?”
The Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce will be holding an open house for 2019 Citizen of the Year Lyndon Hagestuen on Sunday, Oct. 6 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Snake River Fur Post. RSVPs are appreciated by calling 320-322-4040 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.