ELGIN – After retiring from the U.S. Army, Elgin resident Lawrence MacDonald decided to start his own business.
“When I grew up, my dad had a construction company, so I kind of knew that – a little bit of that,” MacDonald said Wednesday. “And so, that’s just kind of what I went with.”
MacDonald’s company, Wichita Dirt Work, opened for business in August 2018.
At about the same time, Elgin resident Lonnie Johnson, a U.S. Navy veteran who had worked for CenterPoint Energy for 13 years and had construction experience, was also thinking about starting a business.
Johnson’s daughter was best friends with MacDonald’s daughter. One day, Johnson asked MacDonald’s daughter what her father was doing now that he had retired.
“She said, ‘No, he’s not retired. He started a business,’” Johnson said. “Well, for a couple of months I’d been thinking about, you know, getting some equipment and starting that kind of business.”
Johnson asked MacDonald’s daughter what kind of business her father had started, and she told him about Wichita Dirt Work. Johnson then approached MacDonald about joining the company, and the two men became business partners in January 2020.
Today, Wichita Dirt Work performs a variety of construction-related tasks, including installing home and shop pads, brush hogging and clearing land and fence lines.
Wichita Dirt Work works primarily on both commercial and residential projects in the Elgin/Fletcher/Sterling area. MacDonald and Johnson have also donated their time to help their church, the city of Elgin and people who are struggling.
The two men believe in serving their community, Johnson said.
“That’s from us being good Christian folks and veterans,” he said. “We like to give back.”
Johnson told the story of a woman who had hired the company to clean up her yard. In the middle of a conversation, the men learned that the woman had recently lost her husband.
“We both talked and in 10 minutes of talking, we’re like, ‘We’re just going to do it for free and say to take that money and do whatever she needs to,’” Johnson said. “No amount of money would make you feel as good as that would.”
MacDonald said the company gives the two men a way to help others.
“This is just another way of continuing to serve,” he said.
Wichita Dirt Work is located at 13747 NE Tony Creek Road in Elgin. For more information, call (580) 678-3094.