A life-long commitment to serving others
Gresham native Anton Anderegg has shown his dedication to others, from his time in the Air Force to his commitment to his family.
Anderegg was the first baby born in Gresham in 1945. Around this time, he says, there were about 1,500 residents there.
For him, it was wonderful to grow up in a close-knit community where people knew each other by name.
“People were friendly and always helping each other out,” said Anderegg.
By the age of 9, he started to work and earn money, delivering newspapers and mowing lawns.
“Going down the streets, you knew everyone, and they knew you,” said Anderegg.
His early memories were often set near places that now hold historical significance in Gresham, such as the Rexall Drug Store, Miller-Kidder Hardware, and the Buster Brown shoe store.
Anderegg’s connection to The Outlook also runs deep. He once participated in a contest to sell Pamplin newspapers door-to-door as part of a competition.
“The Outlook would have a yearly contest to see who could sell the most subscriptions for the coming year, ” he said, “We would go door to door with our little subscription pad and try to sell the most…I wasn’t lucky enough to ever win, but two years in a row I remember coming in second by a close count”.
As his life moved forward, Anderegg would find himself on a path to leave Gresham and fight in the Vietnam War.
“I was willing to serve my country, and at the time I entered the service, we were still getting draft notices,” said Anderegg. But he preferred to make the choice himself. So, instead of waiting to be drafted into the Army, he joined the Air Force.
This decision would take him away from the comforts he grew to love in Gresham, and overseas to Vietnam.
Anderegg’s experience came with challenges. He would have to witness the harsh realities of war, often working with wounded people who came to the hospital for care.
But the toughest challenge he would endure was living far away from his wife and year-old son.
It was a time of immense sacrifice and learning. Still, he tried to see the silver lining. His military service was a significant chapter in his life and shaped his perspective on the world. He believes it was a place where he not only served his country, but also gained respect for authority figures.
Upon his return from Vietnam, Anderegg was fortunate to have a smooth transition back to civilian life, which he credits to Gresham’s supportive community. “I did not face the challenges that others [do] in larger communities,” he said. Anderegg says he promptly began a career with the Fire Service after being discharged – one that would last for 30 years.
As Anderegg looks back on his journey, his decisions reflect his dedication to family and faith.
He has been married to his wife Cathy for 57 years. Their journey together has brought them a big family. “I have been blessed with… two children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren,” said Anderegg.
His story is one of resilience, dedication and community spirit that can inspire readers, whether they’ve served in the military or not.
“Life should be centered around God and family,” said Anderegg, “One must honor the flag, respect authority – and not be hateful.”