Five minutes with Rick Dickson, 56, surface coal mine inspector for U.S Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration

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Rick Dickson displays photos he’s taken of Northwest Colorado in his job with the U.S Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. Dickson, 56, has a great appreciation for the natural beauty of the area, which he considers “a big playground.”

Hometown? “I’m from Arvada, which is a suburb of Denver.”

When did you come to Craig? “1977. I came here for a job with Colowyo.”

Motto or outlook on life? “If I can do one thing to make somebody’s job or life easier, I’ll do it because I know that’s going to come back to me. It took me a long time to learn, but getting ahead isn’t as important as letting it come to you.”

How long has your office been in its current location? “It’s maybe just a hair over a year old. Our old one burned down when the Country Mall burned down. We were working on the east side of town when they got the new one built.”

Favorite part of the job? “I get to work outside, and no two days are the same. You never know what you’re going to get involved in.”

Favorite meal from a local restaurant? “The Ultimate Skillet from Village Inn. I’m a breakfast eater.”

Favorite way to relax? “Working on the house or working on my hobbies.”

What kind of hobbies? “I collect 1960s G.I. Joes. It’s considered the golden era of G.I. Joe and it was immediately prior to the Vietnam War, so they were designed to be exact replicas of the four military services. They quit making them in about 1975 or ’76 because of the oil embargo because it takes oil to make plastic, and they couldn’t afford to make the 12-inch ones for that price. In ’82, that’s when they came out with the smaller ones and you started seeing characters and vehicles. The whole evolution of this toy is really interesting.”

A book, movie, TV show, or song that’s had a profound effect on you? “A movie I’d say is ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ The song would be Jackson Browne’s ‘Doctor My Eyes’ because of its message. I’ve been a big fan of music all my life and the ’60s was kind of the refinement of rock ‘n’ roll, and to me there’s no better music. I don’t know if the world will ever quite be the same as it was in the ’60s and ’70s.”

Favorite part of life in Northwest Colorado? “I just like being outdoors, and what makes me appreciate living here the most is clean air, blue skies and green trees. It’s like being in a big playground created by God. If you’ve ever been outside in this town at 4 a.m., you know that silence has its own distinct sound.”

A store or restaurant you’d like to move to the area? “A Country Buffet. I think it’d go over here real big because Craig is family-oriented, and I think if that opened here, it’d be real successful.”

Proudest accomplishment? “I’d like to think it’s the thought that people have when they think of me: As a good, dependable friend who’s always willing to help. It’s not the Nobel Prize, but I’ve helped a few people in my life and not because I thought it was going to bring me accolades but because it’s the right thing to do. You’re supposed to help people, not just to give yourself a pat on the back, but when it works out you feel good.”

Most embarrassing moment? “I was in high school, and we had five, six or seven fire alarms within a two-hour period. Every time I went out, I’d go over and talk to my girlfriend, and one time when we were walking back into school, I had my arm around her. For some reason I stopped walking, but then I tried putting my arm around her again, but she had already gone inside. It turned out to be a different girl, so I got slapped.”

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