Lambert has always been home for Brian Ligon.
Four of his five siblings left the small town in search of other opportunities, two ended up returning to Lambert, but Ligon has never had a desire to leave.
“I’ve never lived anywhere else in my life, so it’s what I know,” Ligon said. “I didn’t go to college, so I never actually lived away from home. When I was in the oil field for a year and a half or so I did spend some nights away from home, but basically I’ve been right here. It’s home.”
Part of the reason Ligon chose to stay put in his hometown is he became deeply involved in the community as a young adult. He joined the town’s volunteer fire department right after his high school graduation, and became the fire chief by the time he was 25 years old.
“When you live in Lambert you’re usually involved with anything that happens,” he said. “I ended up with an interest in it and assumed chief duties and tried to keep it going in a small town.
“When you live in a small community, everyone needs to work together. The satisfaction of helping somebody out. When there’s a fire, somebody’s losing something, so when you’re helping out hopefully you’re curtailing some of the loss.”
Ligon retired as fire chief two years ago, but in his 34 years as a firefighter, he says Lambert never had many structure fires, and even the grass fires were an uncommon occurrence.
“We just didn’t have any structure fires to speak of,” Ligon said. “Nothing major, which was good thing.”
Ligon said it was rare for him to have to respond to a fire call more than twice a week, even during peak fire season.
Besides fighting fires, Ligon has also been very visible in the Lambert community because of his work as co-owner of Town and Country Repair. Situated on Main Street, Town and Country Repair has earned a large following of loyal customers. Ligon says he’ll fix anything from a vacuum cleaner to a semi truck.
Ligon developed an interest in fixing vehicles as a young boy. He started fixing bicycles before moving on to cars and farm equipment as the student of his father, Don, a custom harvester who fixed all of his own equipment.
“There was always equipment and stuff to work on,” Ligon said. “It started with a bicycle, but I was always working on something, taking something apart to see how it worked and going from there.”
Ligon began working for Al Thiessen at Al’s Repair in 1972 when he was 14 years old. The repair shop closed for a few years after Ligon graduated from high school before re-opening in 1982 as Town and Country Repair, with Ligon and Thiessen as co-owners, an arrangement they’ve kept ever since.
“Basically I’ve been in this building since ‘72,” Ligon said. “There was a little area in the middle of it when I did some other work. I worked at Nortana for a couple years and did the oil patch for a year and a half or whatever, but for the most part I’ve been here a long time.
“Al and I have worked together for a lot of years. Like Al said, we’ve probably spent more time together than we have with our wives.”
Ligon said leaving Lambert to experience someplace else crossed his mind when he was younger, but he never gave it serious consideration.
“I thought about it, but I’ve gotten so involved with this,” he said. “It’s what I know so it’s what I do. The people have been great.”
Ligon’s son, Brandon, has taken after his father, both as a firefighter and his love of Richland County. While Brandon didn’t stay in Lambert, he didn’t venture far away by making his home in Sidney. He has been a member of Sidney’s fire department for much of the last decade.
Ligon’s daughter lives in Great Falls, where she went to college and works as a radiology technician.