A united family can do great things: cook dinner, play sports, celebrate birthdays and build a giant snowman.
A 30-foot-tall snowman now stands in Orem resident Harvey Gardner’s backyard, a remnant of winter holiday family fun. His grandsons, including BYU students Tanner and Tyler Roeller, helped drive almost 100 truckloads of snow to Gardner’s backyard. They packed it together using a forklift to hoist buckets of snow to the top and a hose to keep the snowman from drying out. Gardner estimated that the crew — Tanner, Taylor and Hunter Roeller as well as their cousins — put in a week of 12–16-hour days to complete it.
The Roeller boys and their dad, Todd Roeller, came up with the idea for the snowman after building a 15-foot-tall snowman four years ago. Tanner Roeller said that perhaps the competitive nature of the four men sparked it.
“This year we had to build one that was bigger. You get me and my brothers and my dad in a room, and we keep challenging each other on how high it can go. Luckily it stopped at 30 feet,” Tanner Roeller said.
Being from Southlake, Texas, might have something to do with it, too.
“We call that snowman a male complex with a Texas complex, because males just want to build things that are big, and Texas has to be bigger,” Tyler Roeller said.
The snowman was big enough to attract the nation’s attention. ABC News covered the story, and now Gardner said people from across the nation have contacted him.
“We’ve been getting emails and Facebook messages from all over the country,” Gardner said. “We’ve had thousands (of visitors), people wanting to come take pictures of their whole family, taking pictures for next year’s Christmas cards.”
Tanner and Tyler Roeller said that their own family has grown closer through the experience of building the snowman.
“It’s been by far one of the best bonding experiences that I’ve had with my family as far as duration … We’ve had little moments, but as far as a huge project like that, we’ve only done a couple of those in my lifetime,” Tanner Roeller said.
It was fitting that it would take place at Gardner’s home. Both Tyler and Tanner give credit to their grandparents for being the rock of the family.
“We’re a very tight family, and it’s because we have my grandma and grandpa,” Tyler Roeller said. “He’s done a ton for us.”
And although competition might have sparked the snowman idea, respect and gratitude for their grandfather carried the crew through the aching muscles and freezing temperatures of the project.
“When it got really difficult, we thought, ‘Okay, we’re doing it for him,'” Tanner Roeller said. “We love our grandpa … He’s always kind of been that solid point in all our lives. He’s always done things to make our family united … him and my grandma.”
Gardner said he was also grateful for the bonding experience.
“It brought us together as a family,” he said, “and anything that brings a family together is a good thing.”