Larry Hansen is a St. Ansgar native who has always lived a short jaunt from the northern city limits, but left life on the Cedar behind just one time: to serve with the Navy in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Hansen was presented a Quilt of Valor at the Legion in St. Ansgar on Tuesday, June 16. The quilt was made by Creative Quilters, a group based out of Mesa, AZ.
Lisa Johnson, who presented the quilt, is a St. Ansgar resident whose sister works with Creative Quilters. Johnson knew that Hansen deserved the honor in respect of his service.
“This is how we continue to thank them for their service,” said Johnson. “We can honor and recognize their sacrifices and the things they’ve done. And I told my sister, ‘I know just the guy who deserves this.’”
Hansen, who demurred at Johnson’s praise, said he was honored to have the quilt, and didn’t see the nomination coming.
The Navy veteran has been involved with the American Legion for decades after his return from active duty in Vietnam. He serves on the Legion’s Board of Directors, and oftentimes can be found helping to clean up the grills after a stag night.
“I just do what I like to do,” said a shrugging Hansen, “I like to help.”
He recalled one day in Vietnam when he was making his way across base, and out of the corner of his eye a man came into his vision.
“And I thought, ‘I’ll be darned, that’s Wayne Robertson,’” said Hansen. Robertson, also from STA, had no idea Hansen was in Da Nang, and vice versa. The two happened upon each other halfway across the world, just once, and then never saw each other again until they were back on Iowan soil. “And, you know, we have crossed paths many times over the years since we’ve been back, and we’ve never talked about that day when we bumped into each other in Vietnam.”
Upon returning, Hansen continued farming, and held other jobs with Grain Millers and Mitchell County. He is officially retired, and enjoys his time at the Legion and on his lifelong farm.