The Good Life Men's Magazine - March/April 2015


Fargo Moorhead's Only Men's Magazine - Featuring Chris Berg, Local Heroes - American Red Cross, Having a Beer with Lt. Joel Vettel, Car Clubs and More!


How to Respond When You Can’t Re

“Hi, (insert your name here)! Man, it’s been ages. How are you?”

This sounds like the beginning of a nice, cordial conversation. It might not last

for longer than two minutes. Then again, it may last a half hour. It’s great seeing

them again. It would be especially enjoyable if you could remember their name.

When you are faced with someone who knows you, but you can’t remember

anything about them, or you recognize them but can’t remember their name,

you have a few routes to choose from.

The jerk

If you want to come off as a horrible person, “the jerk” is always an option.

After their exuberant greeting, act offended that they are daring to address

you (I immediately imagined Kanye West taking this option). Follow that

reaction with this statement: “I don’t even know who you are, ya creep. Why

are you talking to me? Do I have food on my face, or something?”

I can predict with some certainty that they will cease conversing and walk

away, one eyebrow raised or both furrowed, in wonderment as to what just

happened. You will never hear from them again, not that you knew who

they were, anyway. A grapevine effect may take place where acquaintances

hear about your act and begin despising you from afar. You will then

become a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge and eat cold porridge by yourself

at night without even a dog to comfort you in your misery – you, the jerk.


Vaguely there

Unfortunately, this is the route I usually take. Their cheerful hello is

greeted by an equally ecstatic response from me. I then ask roundabout

questions in hopes they will produce character clues. In these instances,

I’ve oftentimes said, “It’s been forever. When was the last time we

ran into each other?” If I just met them last week, things could get

incredibly awkward.

Methods of



member Someone’s Name

When I recognize their face but not their

name or history, I continue talking with them

until something jogs my memory. But when

the conversation is over and the questions

still remain, it nags me for days. Be aware

that this is the method of potential mental


Honesty is the best policy

This is probably the most brave and

commendable way to figure out who the

mystery speaker is and why you know them.

If you go with the honest approach, it has

the potential to come off as harsh and could

embarrass the other person, so be gentle.

By kindly stating, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t

place your name right now,” you’ll appear

bold, confident, considerate and forgetful.

However, it is better to be a flake than a jerk

or bad actor.

The forgotten one

When you are the one whose name and

identity has been forgotten, misplaced in a

sea of faces more recognizable than your own,

don’t take it personally. Graciously remind

them how you know each other and cut the

conversation short. After all, you have other

places to be and people to meet, people who

may or may not remember your name when

you see them out of context in the grocery








From Playing Football to Broadcasting:

Berg, TV Host, Salesman, Father,

Shares His Point of View



in every issue


Fargo Police Lieutenant - Joel Vettel



12 Tips on Raising Boys



Volunteers Bearing Help and Goodwill



How to Respond When You Can’t

Remember Someone’s Name


How One Luthier is Keeping Music Alive

in the F-M Area

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The Good Life Men’s Magazine.


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New Gym Offers Unique Atmosphere

and Equipment


The Good Life Interviews Three Local

Car Clubs That Do More Than Just

Fix Up Old Cars


Pat Lenertz is One of the Busiest

Musicians in Fargo-Moorhead



Soo Asheim

Jessica Ballou

Meghan Feir

Paul Hankel

Jessica Jasperson

Alisha Underlee Nelson


How One Luthier is Keeping Music Alive

in the F-M Area



Despite its convenient and bustling location on Main Avenue in Downtown

Fargo, Christian Eggert Violins is a humble shop that will never be heard

screaming for attention. You may not have been aware of its existence,

unless you have besought the aid of one of the shop’s skilled luthiers to fix the

broken neck on your cello.

One could argue that the mustachioed, spectacle-wearing

Glenn Miiller (double N, double I, double L) specializes in

more than the repairing of stringed instruments. He possesses

a formidable track record of gluing together the broken hearts

of orchestra students whose dreams were once dashed by

the near ruination of their prized instruments.

When a student

comes in here

and thinks it’s the

end of the world,

I love being able

to identify the

problem and fix

it,” Miiller said.

For the craftsman, the best part

of his job is “being able to help

someone with what they’re trying

to accomplish. If I can make a small

change to their instrument that

makes it easier and more enjoyable

to play, I feel like I’ve done my job.”

Miiller’s adoration for repairing

broken objects began in his teens

after purchasing a worn-out guitar.

“I had this really crappy guitar

and started to think, ‘How can I

make this thing work better?’ Then

I got an electric guitar and tried to

customize it to make it more my

own and suit my needs.”

Playing his own tune

Originally from Hazen, N.D.,

Miiller attended Bismarck State

College until the realization hit him

that he was going to college due to

societal expectations, not because

he was passionate about a particular

major offered. “It wasn’t for me,”

Miiller said.

In remembering a suggestion

made by one of his high school

counselors, Miiller researched

the instrument repair programs

at Southeast Technical College in

Redwing, Minn. He packed up his

bags and made the 8-hour drive

to southern Minnesota where

he learned the craft of repairing

guitars, violins and other stringed



After two years of working in Milwaukee, Wis., full time at

a music repair shop, Miiller wanted to be closer in proximity

to his roots. With $1,200 in his figurative pocket, no place to

stay and not a job in sight, he “up and moved to Fargo.”

Not long after his relocation, Christian Eggert Violins

opened the shop in Fargo, and Miiller found himself in his


Relishing his craft

Ten years and countless repaired instruments later, Miiller

is still finding gratification in his craft. Music from Classical

Minnesota Public Radio appropriately serenades the shop as

he works. Knives of all shapes and sizes are strewn over his

working space, and a blowtorch rests on a desk awaiting its

next use.

There is organized chaos all around this quaint hospital

for battered violas, violins, cellos and the like, and Miiller

wouldn’t have it any other way.

The good life to me is having a fulfilling day at work and

feeling like I’ve really helped people,” Miiller said. “When

somebody brings in their instrument in tears, they come back

in a week and get their instrument again – that’s the most

fulfilling thing for me.”

Christian Eggert Violins is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m.

to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is

located at 618 Main Avenue in Fargo, N.D. More information

can be found on their website,, or

by calling 701-280-7017.

Ask the expert

How do you choose the right


“If you want the very best

instrument, you need to play as

many as you can and find the one

you like the best.

Instruments are like ice cream;

do you like mint chocolate chip or

rocky road? When you play in an

orchestra, your instrument is your

voice, and you should really like

the sound of your voice. Our voices

are all different. That’s what makes

them great.

You can take one instrument

made by a maker next to another

made by that same maker, and they

may be slightly different because

wood is not consistent.

When violinmakers make an

instrument, they sometimes use a

different pattern. It could be shaped

slightly different. They’ll have an

idea in mind of what they want to

accomplish, like making it bright

and powerful or warm and intimate.

You just really have to try as

many instruments as you can and

find the one you enjoy the best.”

Should you sell your child’s

instrument when it’s been

gathering some dust?

“Keep it. Put it in the closet.

Stash it away and forget about it

because eventually, in about 15 or

so years, your kid is going to say,

‘Hey, mom and dad, where’s that

violin? I want to play that thing


You go through these phases in

your life where you’re really busy

playing music in high school, then

you go off to college and you’re busy,

and then you’re busy becoming an

adult and building a career.

Finally, when you get settled

down, you think, ‘Gosh, I had so

much fun playing that instrument.

I want to try it again.’ Look at me; I

went back to the baritone after 16


It doesn’t matter if you’re great.

You just have to enjoy it. That’s the

most important part.”


• Glenn Miiller was not a popular big

band leader in the 1940s. Glenn Miller


The most expensive instrument Miiller

has worked on was an Italian cello

appraised around $175,000.

• After crossing the Atlantic from Germany

to America, Miiller’s great-grandfather

wanted to keep the appearance of umlauts

on their last name, so he changed the U to

two I’s. When you write Miiller in cursive, a

U with two dots on the top looks the same

as two lowercase I’s.

• Miiller played the trumpet and baritone

in high school and recently picked up the

baritone again after a 16-year hiatus. He

even played in Tuba Christmas at the West

Acres Shopping Center this past December.

• He plays the mandolin.

• When forced to pick a favorite composer

and piece, Miiller chose Antonio Vivaldi’s

Mandolin Concerto in C Major.

• He loves fixing motorcycles (and

everything else). A ’77 Honda CB550, a

BMW and a Gold Wing can be found in his

garage, unless he’s driving one of them.



est Fargo natives, Ty Zaczkowski and

Jacob Kinsella, noticed a need in the

Fargo-Moorhead area for a gym with

extensive equipment and a welcoming atmosphere for

bodybuilders and the like. Zaczkowski and Kinsella

filled this need with their gym, Midwest Muscle, located

in Fargo.

For one year the idea of opening a gym that welcomes

everyone stirred in Zaczkowski’s and Kinsella’s minds

after a gym frequented by bodybuilders and competitors

closed. Forced to workout at other gyms in

the area, both dreamed of the day a gym

would fit their workout needs and the

needs of others.

After deciding to open a gym,

Zaczkowski and Kinsella spent the

following year searching the Internet

for auctions and individuals interested

in selling unwanted equipment. While

still working full-time the team of two

travelled almost every two weeks during

the weekend to pick up their latest finds

for the gym.

“We have a lot of unique equipment,

and it’ll give people who take lifting

seriously an edge over everyone else,”


We have a lot of

unique equipment,

and it’ll give

people who take

lifting seriously

an edge over

everyone else,”

— Zaczkowski

Zaczkowski said. “It is really important to target certain

muscles, and you need the right equipment to do so.”

While travelling across the tri-state area to pick up

various commercial grade equipment, Zaczkowski and

Kinsella viewed an array of different gyms. They saw

firsthand gym qualities that work and do not work.

They used this advantage to create a gym that welcomes

everyone no matter what fitness level or interest.

Midwest Muscle provides four separate

spaces to work out, locker rooms, and

cubbies for those who don’t wish to use

the locker rooms. What’s unlike many

other gyms is the amount of free weights

made available for customers to use.

In addition to free weights, there is

plenty of cardio equipment and multiple

machines that help target different areas

of the body. Zaczkowski estimates the gym

holds at least 30 pieces of equipment. Lastly,

one of the spaces provides wrestling mats

and punching bags for those interested in

mixed martial arts (MMA) or kickboxing.

“I really like the idea of this area being

matted and having bags,” Kinsella said.

“Because nowadays MMA is really popular, but really

expensive. People can’t afford a lot of facilities in the F-M

area. This will give them a space to work out and roll

around in.”

As Midwest Muscle grows, Zaczkowski and Kinsella

share the same goal for the gym: to keep changing.

Whether this means putting in better equipment or

offering different services they want a gym that offers the

best of the best for the F-M area.

“My goal of this place is to have a unique atmosphere

and have a really good community of people that go,”

Kinsella said. “The people who are serious about lifting

form a community. We want people to feel comfortable

coming here every single day.”

“We also don’t want people to be scared either,”

Zaczkowski said. “Come check it out. The goal was to

have something for everybody.”

In the future Midwest Muscle hopes to give back

to the community by sponsoring athletes, teams, local

university clubs, and bodybuilding and physique


“It’s only going to get better, and we want it to get

to the point that if you want it, we’ll get it,” Zaczkowski

said. “We’re going to be able to.”





No one is going to tell you it’s easy to be a car club in North Dakota. The long winters and relatively short summer

months make it tough to get out and show off a polished custom hot rod, much less go for club cruises.

And yet, the car club scene continues to grow, locally and regionally. It all comes down to a genuine passion for

classic cars and for being involved in one’s community.

The Good Life met up with three of the area’s clubs to find out who they are, what events they participate in, and

what activities the club’s participate in outside of fixing up hot rods.



founded: 1953

membership: 17 members

Toppers, now famous for their monthly Cruise

Nights held during the summer months, has one main

goal, according to current club President Rich Barnes: to

give back to the community.

In their 67th year, Toppers continues to grow as well

as provide needed charity work to local and regional

groups and organizations. They do this by fundraising

and hosting large local events each year.

Last year, Toppers participated in the Service Dogs of

America program, which provides trained dogs to veterans

who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

The club also donated four medical defibrillators to a

veteran’s home in Lisbon, North Dakota, and hosted a

Christmas party for the local Boys and Girls Club.

Toppers Car Club also hosts a yearly car show at the

West Fargo Veterans Memorial Building. The show has

been taking place for over 50 years, and is considered

one of the premier car shows in this region.



founded: originally in 1956,

refounded in 2007

membership: 20 members

According to former club president Gary Johnson, the

current Swanks Car Club was refounded with the notion

of sharing ideas and passions about hot rods. While

the club was originally formed in 1956, it was more of

a social group than a car club. As membership grew, the

transition to a fully fledged car club took place. As time

passed, members moved on and the club was dormant for

several years.

Swanks was revived by Steve Olson, many years later,

and now features hot rods from as early as the 1920’s,

through the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Swanks Car Club hosts a yearly show in Casselton,

North Dakota, where the club is mainly located. The show

takes place during Cass County Summer Fest and features

as many as 400 cars.

As well as donating to several local charities, Swanks

also has a club scholarship that provides financial backing

to a local student who is going into the automotive field.



founded: 2004

membership: 20 members

While most members are Fargoans, Suedes Car Club has members as far away as Colorado, Illinois, and Nebraska.

The club’s slogan is, “the future of hot rodding is history,” and this is evidenced by the bevy of club hot rods and

muscle cars that are pre-1965 models. The oldest club car, according to club member Stefan Robinson, is a 1932 Ford


The club’s activities include hosting the Suedes Car Club swap meet, which takes place twice during the summer,

as well as attending local and regional car shows.



An 18-year law enforcement veteran, Lt. Joel Vettel sat down with The Good Life

at Drekker Brewing Company to discuss his life, career and connection to the


Born in 1971, in Moorhead,

Minnesota, Lieutenant Joel Vettel of

the Fargo Police Department is the

second youngest of seven children

and grew up on a farm ten minutes

outside of Hillsboro, North Dakota.

Vettel attended Hillsboro High

School, where he excelled at wrestling

and distance running. “We weren’t a

family of means,” says Vettel, “My

opportunities to go to college were

to work hard, wrestle, and earn a

scholarship. “

Vettel lived by these three

principles and was able to earn a

scholarship to wrestle collegiately at

North Dakota State University, where

he was a three-time All American.


“Coming from a large family, you

learn what it means to work hard and

to sacrifice. I think that’s a good life


While at NDSU, he majored

in Sociology and Minored in

Business Administration. Following

graduation, Vettel moved to the

Twin Cities area and went to work

for Target Corporation. His duties

included Loss Prevention and Special

Projects. Currently, he is married and

lives with his wife and two daughters

in Fargo.

Vettel decided to return to Fargo

and join the Fargo Police Department

(FPD) in 1997, while pursing his

Master’s Degree. He served as a

patrolman for the first 13 years of his

career. Currently, he is the Lieutenant

in Charge of Investigations and also

the Public Information Officer. His

duties include overseeing current

investigations and acting as a liaison

between the FPD and the community.

The Good Life (GL): What are the

best aspects of your job?

Lt. Joel Vettel (JV): Working

with some of the best police law

enforcement officers in the country.

I also really enjoy working with the

public and getting to know and work

with the people in the community

that I talk to everyday.

GL: You’re also busy off the clock. Tell us about that.

JV: I don’t hunt and I don’t fish, those just aren’t my

hobbies. My hobbies include being involved on boards

and in community projects. Also, my wife, Sandy, and my

two daughters are the most important thing in my life.

Vettel continues to serve on several local boards

including the Board of Trustees for the United Way and

a three-term stint on the Fargo Park Board. Vettel is also

heavily involved in the NDSU Athletic Department and

also helps coordinate the Junior National Wrestling

Tournament that takes place, yearly, at the Fargodome.

Vettel also twice-served as the liaison between the FPD and

ESPN Gameday, when the show took place in downtown


In his spare time, Vettel participates in several athletic

competitions including Adventure Races, Tough Mudders,

and Ultra Races.

GL: What are some of the cool types of training that you’ve

gotten to do?

JV: I’ve had the opportunity to be heavily involved in the

area of defensive tactics. I was an instructor in that area

and got hundreds of hours of training in that area.

Vettel has taught a multitude of defensive tactics

classes, including Taser instruction and hand to hand

combat techniques. He even completed United States

Secret Service Protective Detail Training.

JV: We have a relatively low crime rate, a high quality

of life and it’s not like that everywhere. Also, we serve a

community that cares. People don’t move here for the

weather, they move here for the quality of life that exists


If one word could be used to describe the life of

Lieutenant Vettel, that word would have to be ‘constant’.

Case in point: during the interview, Vettel fielded phone

calls ranging from an interview request to the results of

a search warrant. You know…everyday stuff.

This author will be the first to admit: he tends to

dramatize the busyness of his schedule. However, let’s

be real for a second: Lieutenant Vettel doesn’t have

to. He runs the Investigative unit of the Fargo Police

Department, a unit that solves high-profile crimes at

a rate that’s higher than the national average. This is

all while also serving as the FPD’s Public Information

Officer, being on a laundry list of community boards, a

public speaker, and being married with two daughters.

Somehow, Vettel also finds time to run athletic races,

such as 30-mile long obstacle courses…for fun. So, the

next time you’re tempted to roll over at 7 a.m. and hit

the snooze button, just remember — Lieutenant Vettel

has probably been up for a few hours already, making

this city better than it was the day before. And if that

isn’t the definition of living “The good life,” then this

writer doesn’t know what is.

GL: Did you ever want to be on the Red River Swat Team?

JV: I think it’s something that is a very cool opportunity.

For me, I had other opportunities and in, as far as a work/

life balance, it just wasn’t an option for me.

GL: Do you watch police dramas?

JV: (laughs) Usually, the only times I do, it’s with my

daughters, It’s kinda funny, but I’m probably the only

guy where, I’ll be upstairs watching some sitcom, while

my wife and daughters are downstairs watching ESPN!

They’re the real sports nuts.

GL: Be honest, are the FPD police cruisers designed to

look cool, as well as be functional interdiction vehicles?

JV: I hope so! We want people to take notice of us.

Presence is a huge focus for us. Sometimes it’s better to

be seen than be heard. It’s a deterrent. Sometimes it’s all

about just being there.

GL: What’s unique about being a police officer in Fargo?


With POV, I’m looking to hold

you accountable, to debate the

issues, so it’s always fun to spar

with people and go through some

of those mental gymnastics.

— Chris Berg



From Playing Football

to Broadcasting: Berg,

TV Host, Salesman, Father,

Shares His Point of View

o say Chris Berg is a busy man would be an understatement.

As a host of two programs on Valley News Live and

a salesman, Berg’s days are packed full of prepping,

interviewing, marketing companies, spending time with

his family and more.

He’s typically in the studio by 8 a.m. to prep for

North Dakota Today. Once that show is done at 10

a.m., he works on some sales and preps for his

hosting gig on 6:30 Point of View.


Berg said he was originally interested in

broadcasting to make a difference, which is

why he’s still passionate about it.

“I think there’s a real opportunity to make a

difference in our community,” he said.“You’ve got a

chance where you can help people if there’s something

going on, there’s an injustice happening or something’s

not right for a certain person or group of people, whatever

it might be, there’s obviously a chance to move the public

opinion needle and make an impact.”

He also said it was an act of God that got him involved

in the broadcasting world in Fargo.

“If you would have said to me five years ago, Chris,

you’re going to be hosting a lifestyle show and an issues

show, I would’ve thought you were on some pretty serious

drugs,” he said with a laugh. “The door opened for me to

come back to North Dakota five years ago, and the door

opened for me to do some radio outside of what I was

coming back here to do initially. And then God opened a

door for me to do a three-hour radio show in 2010. And then

from there, something happened with the radio station and

then God opened a door for me to get on TV.”


“If you would

have said to me

five years ago,

Chris, you’re going

to be hosting a

lifestyle show and

an issues show, I

would’ve thought

you were on some

pretty serious

drugs,” he said

with a laugh.

He used to work for and travel with motivational speaker and life coach

Tony Robbins, whose message was all about being bold, having a vision and

making it happen.

“What’s been amazing about my journey back to North Dakota is that I

can’t say I came back and I made it happen to have a radio show,” he said. “I

didn’t make it happen to be on two TV shows. The more I’ve kind of let go and

let God lead my life, the more doors He’s opened at really the perfect time, so

it’s just been because of Him that I’m doing television.”

He said one of the greatest things he learned from Robbins was how to

communicate effectively, which definitely comes in handy for his two shows.

“So for example with Point of View, it’s not a scripted show,” he said. “It’s

not a news cast where I’m going to say X and then we’re going to this package

and I’m going to come back and say Y or Z. So I think it’s really helped me be

able to get in front of a camera for 30 minutes and dance in the conversation

and be able to speak effectively and make my point.”

“With POV, I’m looking to hold you accountable, to debate the issues, so

it’s always fun to spar with people and go through some of those mental

gymnastics,” he added.



Berg used to split time with KFGO Radio’s Joel Heitkamp as moderator of

a Hot Box segment before hosting it himself. Berg started hosting 6:30 Point

of View solo in April 2013.

Once the radio show switched to new management, Berg said he felt like

it was time for him to try something different, so when Wareham offered

him the chance to take over Point of View and be a co-host on a new hour-long

lifestyle show that developed into North Dakota Today, he jumped at the chance.

Around this same time, a woman who was in sales left to get a job in Bismarck

so Berg took over her accounts and started doing sales as well.

Berg said Point of View is the only interactive television show in the Red River

Valley, so it’s unique in that he and the other people on the show try to integrate

people’s feedback as much as possible. He views it as an opinionated issues show

that strives to focus not just on politics.

“We actually don’t want it to be politically focused,” he said. “I really see it

more as these are the issues the people in our community are talking about, and

there’s also some controversy around them.”

He said having social media integrated into POV has been great because there

are so many points of view out there that perhaps he hadn’t thought of before,

so it spurs great discussions. He also said hosting Point of View is full of great

challenges, like trying to stay on top of the news and always being ready and


The biggest challenge about POV is trying to make it fresh, creative, fun and

edu-taining every single night,” he said.

“I can’t call the Today Show and ask them to move back Matt Lauer for 15

minutes because I’m not really feeling it at 9 o’clock,” he added. “That’s one of

the most interesting aspects for me is that no matter what’s going on in my life,

no matter what’s happening, at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., I gotta be ready to roll

because that red light is about to hit and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Berg said his attitude is inspired by John Wooden, who coached

basketball at the University of California, Los Angeles, and won 10 NCAA

“I didn’t make it

happen to be on

two TV shows. The

more I’ve kind of

let go and let God

lead my life, the

more doors He’s

opened at really

the perfect time,

so it’s just been

because of Him

that I’m doing



national championships in a 12-year period, which

was unprecedented. He said Wooden’s philosophy

focused not on showing up every day and looking at

the scoreboard, but showing up and getting one percent

better every day because if you do that over the course of

a year, the growth you go through is unbelievable.

“So that’s where I’m at. I really love what I’m doing.

I like being able to swing public opinion, make a

difference in our community, and if I can get one percent

better at doing that every single day, then God will put

me where I’m supposed to be,” he said.

He then added how grateful he is to do what he does,

and he appreciates and respects the responsibility of

being able to have a platform to share issues and affect



Berg was born in raised in Fargo. His parents got

divorced when he was eight or nine years old, and then

he started playing football in sixth grade. Berg said he

started playing quarterback in eighth grade, and he

never lost a football game as a quarterback until college.

He loved watching John Elway, and he decided that he

wanted to play quarterback at Stanford, which later came


His dad started giving him goal-setting and positive

mental attitude books when Berg was in high school,



so he said he developed an affinity for those subjects.

His mom moved to Colorado, so it was just Berg and

his father. He had to grow up fast, which he said was

good for him. He got a football scholarship to Stanford

University in California, and his freshman year coach

was Dennis Green, who went on to coach the Minnesota


In his spare time Berg said all he wants to do is be

with his family. He said he’s been working such long

hours that every free moment he has, he wants to go

home and be with his wife and five-year-old daughter.

“That’s such a great age, and I know in a few years,

I’m going to be the last person she’s gonna want to hang

out with, so I’m just trying to take advantage of that as

much as I can right now,” he said.

When asked what the good life means to him, Berg


The good life means to me being able

to live your life passionately, doing what

you want to do with passion, making a

difference in people’s lives and doing

the right thing.” — Chris Berg




usic is in Pat Lenertz’s blood. From humming along with

the oldies station in his parents’ car to singing in choirs

from elementary school until well into college, Lenertz

has always been musical. But it was the gift of an acoustic

guitar when he was fifteen that really set his course. “I finally had

an instrument I could focus my energies with and a medium for

songwriting,” Lenertz said.

He played his first gig at The Funky Monkey (a now defunct

coffee shop across from Fargo Theatre) with the band Bad Mojo

just a few months later. His expressive voice, which runs the gamut

from a warble to a growl, his guitar skills and the achingly honest,

melodic way he writes and interprets Americana and roots music

have made him a fixture in the Fargo-Moorhead music scene ever


Lenertz has performed with multiple bands since his 1999

debut, including the aforementioned Bad Mojo, The Legionnaires,

The Quarterly, Heavy is the Head and his eponymous quartet,

the Pat Lenertz Band. Reggae roots band Heavy is the Head, The

Quarterly and the Pat Lenertz Band are all still performing, so for

the last several months, Lenertz has balanced playing in multiple

bands and earning a master’s degree in social work.

“I am a plate spinner,” Lenertz said. “I multitask and try to stay

afloat.” Whatever he’s doing, he’s doing something right. He’s an


audience favorite and one of the busiest performers in

the region.

“I was very honored to have received the ‘Best

Musician’ award from the High Plains reader last year,”

he said. “But I am proud when a few people come to

our shows and dance and have fun. That makes me

very happy.”

In between gigs and school, he also found time

to record a buzzed-about concept album with the Pat

Lenertz Band. The project captures the energy and

camaraderie that Lenertz loves and transforms it into a

new experience for listeners.

The album, titled “Love, Loss & Regret”, features

fourteen of Lenertz’s original songs and three

original vignettes narrated by Pat’s close friend Kevin

Hendrickson and was recorded over the course of a

year. It explores the evolution of moods and feelings

over time through artfully layered arrangements

and Lenertz’s brand of emotional storytelling. The

songs explore falling in love, losing friends and

other emotional touchstones that will resonate with


The songs stand alone by themselves, but it is the

full album that tells the story,” said Lenertz. “I wanted

to create an aural story for myself and listeners. I

wanted to weave a meta-narrative with the individual

songs through placement and flow.”

The project also gave Lenertz a chance to connect

with artists he respected. He brought over 25 local

musicians into the studio as guest artists. It also

gave him a chance to reconnect with Ken Davis, his

friend and former band mate in The Legionnaires.

Davis engineered and produced the record, which was

recorded in Davis’ Positively Tenth Street Studio.

This type of collaboration isn’t unusual in the

downtown music scene. And it’s a big part of why

Lenertz continues to support and perform in this part

of the city.

“I love to play downtown,” he said. “And I wouldn’t be

anything without the wonderfully talented musicians that

I am lucky enough to play with. We are lucky to be living

in an area with such a diverse blend of wonderful music.

There is a constant ebb and flow of number and types

“We are lucky to be living in

an area with such a diverse

blend of wonderful music.

There is a constant ebb and

flow of number and types of

bands that play around

here, from heavy music

to acoustic.”


of bands that play around here, from heavy music to


His favorite venues include bustling bars like

Sidestreet Grille & Pub, and Dempsey’s, the upscale

but laid-back HoDo Lounge, the come-as-you-are

downtown VFW and downtown’s live music mainstay,

The Aquarium. He also loves playing outdoors in the

parks during those warm prairie nights.

There’s a new Pat Lenertz Band album in the works

for 2015, which means Lenertz is spending more of

his time writing, a process he’s refined and polished

during his years in the business. Part of the proficiency

comes from experience. But Lenertz also understands

and respects the nuances of his creative process.

“It’s always been a feeling for me,” he said. “I

call it the ‘switch’. It’s the muse, or the

inspiration or what have you. If I try

to create when the ‘switch’ is off,

nothing happens.”

And sometimes technology helps too. “It’s been

nice having a smart phone these last few years,” he

admits. “It allows me to pull over when driving to

sing a melody into the recorder or write down some

lyrics when it comes to me.”


Lenertz is busy, but he wouldn’t have it any other

way. The constant gigs, writing and recording sessions

are all part of a life he loves, a life dedicated to “being

true to oneself and others, doing good work, and

creating.” It’s the life he set out to live when he was a

fifteen year-old kid with his very first acoustic guitar.

“…I am proud when

a few people come

to our shows and

dance and have

fun. That makes

me very happy.”

I was not given a manual on raising boys. My manual for the most part has come from the fact that I was once a

boy. I realize now that some of the stuff my dad used to tell me is oh so true.

In addition to my 20/20 hindsight vision, I also learn from other dads who have raised boys or shared their

insight. Two books I picked up recently have given me some great insight and encouraging tips for raising boys.

The Resolution for Men by Steven and Alex Kendrick is a masterpiece on manhood and has some great tips on

fatherhood. Dr. Clarence Shuler has also written a great book, What All Dads Should Know, and dedicates an entire

chapter to raising boys. Here are some great takeaways from both:






A father’s presence in his son’s life is

invaluable. Not just physically but emotionally,

spiritually, and mentally as well. Be present in

your son’s life.


Dr. Shuler says that one of the most important

things his dad instilled in him was to “not be a

hypocrite.” If you say it, then do it.



Even as an adult, we can learn from our fathers

and our kids can learn from us. The method

of teaching may change at certain ages, but we

should always be instilling life lessons.






Your son will grow up to have relationships

with women and, hopefully, get married one

day. His friends and the media will portray one

way to treat them, but he’ll learn the most from

watching you.


Watching you pray, and praying with you, will

help him to feel comfortable praying and show

him the privilege, and power, that comes from




One of the greatest things Dr. Shuler experienced

was “helping” his dad in his shop. Fulfilling

that role built his self-confidence and selfesteem

as a boy which carried into manhood.








Much like prayer, seeing his father active in

ministry and going to church will let him

know it is okay. Men can pray, men can

attend church, and men can participate in

ministry. In fact, men should do all of them.


You probably made a lot of mistakes, just

like I did. However, your kids see a different

person than you were growing up. Be honest

and let them know you did make mistakes,

but you learned from them. Now you are

teaching them so they can keep from making

the same mistakes.



Another big point that Dr. Shuler made was

how his dad worked hard and showed him

to work hard as well. Without hard work, not

much can be accomplished in life. Instill this

value in your son.



Our kids have dreams, and some are

outlandish. No matter how outlandish they

are, support and encourage them. Your

encouragement can be the thing your son

depends upon when his dreams become hard.


Does your son hear you tell him what you

think about him? Congratulate him, tell him

you are proud, make sure he knows you are

pleased with him.


Some view affection between a dad and son

as off limits. The Kendrick brothers believe it

should not be. Hug him, kiss him, high-five

him, fist bump him…show him and tell him

how much you love him.

“Copyright 2012 All Pro Dad. All Rights Reserved.

Reprinted with permission. For more fatherhood

resources, visit”

The Power of Volunteers

Bearing Help and Goodwill


Without the

amazing people

we have who are

willing to help

and volunteer

time after time,

we couldn’t do

what needs

to be done.

— Brian Shawn


Recently, I sat down with an amazing group of five men

who represent the DAKOTA CHAPTER of the AMERICAN

RED CROSS. Brian Shawn, the Regional Communications

Officer; Sean Coffman, the Disaster Program Manager; Terry

Askin, the Government and Community Liaison and two of

the local Red Cross Board members, who volunteer their time

in an advisory capacity: Mark Jensen, V-P of Western Bank in

West Fargo and Ray Grefsheim, V-P of Bremer Bank in North

Fargo. These gentlemen re-educated me about an organization

so well known, no one could misidentify it with another,

The AMERICAN RED CROSS. However, what I learned about

today’s American Red Cross not only surprised me, but shores

up my belief that in every able bodied person there is also a heart

beating with good will toward their fellow human and when the

chips are down the extension of helping hands do reach forward.


When Clara Barton convinced her friends to join her mission

to establish the first Red Cross in Washington, D.C., the plan

was to establish a network in alleviating the pain and suffering

of survivors from natural disasters such as floods and fires and

diseases spread throughout whole communities. One might

wonder if she ever knew her dream of spreading humanitarian

aid would one day grow into a worldwide organization.

Since before World War I, The Red Cross has been on hand

to help whenever a major crisis involving multiple populations

have been at risk. During World War I the number of local

Red Cross Chapters leaped from 107 to 3,864 by 1918 and the


The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human

suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the

power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.


volunteer membership grew from 17,000 to over 20

million. During that time the Red Cross trained, staffed

hospitals and ambulance companies, and registered a

small army of nurses to serve the military as well as

combat the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918.

During all of the wars the United States has been

involved in to this day, The Red Cross has played an

integral part in aiding our soldiers and their families,

our Allies and countless civilian war victims. After

World War II, it was the Red Cross who began the first

nationwide civilian blood program. Today it supplies

at least 40 percent of the blood and blood products

used in the United States.


One of the primary changes has been funding.

The government no longer subsidizes each and every

chapter in each and every city and town. Secondly,

the Red Cross responds to disasters, be they natural

or man-made regardless wherever they occur the same

everywhere. The reason for this is because, about a

year ago, The American Red Cross realized in order

to remain effective they needed to change how they

manage what they do.

Today each section of the country is broken

down into “regions” that the Red Cross is primarily


responsible for. There are seven National Divisions

of the Red Cross. Within the seven divisions there are

sixty-four Regions.

The Dakotas Region is large, as it encompasses

all of South Dakota, North Dakota and ten counties

in Northwestern Minnesota. Population wise, that is

approximately 900,000 people. What is so amazing

about that is that the Red Cross has an employed staff

of only 17 — that’s SEVENTEEN people. Everyone else

who serves and helps during any and all times of need

is a volunteer. Brian Shawn, Sean Coffman and Terry

Askin are three of the key people who communicate,

coordinate and handle whatever needs to be done

when a disaster is called in.

“Without the amazing people we have who are

willing to help and volunteer time after time, we

couldn’t do what needs to be done” Brian Shawn says

often during our conversation. Locally there are 150

volunteers. On a regional level estimates range to

about 850 volunteers. Terry Askin, who often works

on the line with the volunteers, says “they are usually

a very diverse group. Many are moms and dads with

grown kids and retired people who like to pitch in and


The Red Cross today does more than respond to

disasters—they do whatever they can to prevent them

as well. There are three core missions that the Red

Cross considers to be it’s job: A) PREPAREDNESS B)


When it comes to working to prevent a disaster,

the volunteers with the Red Cross are instrumental.

One example is placing smoke alarms in the homes

of people who do not have them. Smoke alarms alone

may not prevent a fire, but they certainly do prevent

tragic deaths due to smoke inhalation. During and

after a fire the Red Cross will be there to help both

First Responding teams if they need it and victims

of the fire to find shelter and clothing until they can

secure more help on their own.

In 2006 the Red Cross and FEMA teamed up to aid

and lend support to victims in need of governmental

agency help and community organizations during

natural disasters such as the Red River flooding of

2007 and 2008. They also help to provide shelter and

assistance for families in being reunited with missing

members of their families.


Along with all the humanitarian needs the Red

Cross meets they still offer courses and certification

classes for folks who need to keep up to date with


lifesaving skills for employment purposes (Childcare

Providers, Teachers, First Responders) or because

they live with a person who is disabled and might

require assistance immediately. There are also others

who simply would like to have the ability to aid or

save someone in an emergency with the proper skills

and training needed in the event it might take an

emergency medical team a few minutes to reach their

location. The Red Cross offers First Aid/CPR/AED

training courses, Lifeguarding courses, Learn about

Babysitting and Caregiving Courses and Become a

Red Cross Instructor course. There are also on-line

seminars and “table-top” hands on training courses

offered periodically.

The Dakotas Region has a fiscal budget of $2.1

million that runs from July 1 through June 30 of

each year. That requires a lot of green s-t-r-e-t-c-h-in-g

when considering the number of calls received

per year. Last year the Red Cross responded over 500

times to needy individuals during and after disastrous

events within the regional area.

Thanks to corporate donors such as Anheuser-Busch

who joined the American Red Cross’ Annual Disaster

Giving Program in 2014 with a $500,000 donation

that will help support disaster relief operations on

both a national and local level. Anheuser-Busch also

donated an additional $250,000 to support the Red

Cross Blood Services work.

Another program is the Red Cross’ “Our Supporters’

Corporate and Foundation Partners READY WHEN

THE TIME COMES.” The Red Cross trains corporate

employees from partnering corporations and

companies and returns them back to the community

as a trained and willingly prepared volunteer when

a disaster strikes. RWTC volunteers presently have

14,000 trained volunteers from 460 businesses

and organizations in 54 cities establishing disaster

zones across the county. RWTC volunteer teams have

responded to tornadoes in the South and Midwest as

well as floods on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers

and hurricanes from North Carolina to New Jersey. “It is

an efficient turn-key way to involve your company and

your employees in responding to critical local needs,

The American Red Cross

has launched a nationwide

campaign to reduce the

number of deaths and

injuries from home fires by

as much as 25 percent over

the next five years.


for more information.


multiple and varied ways

for people to be engaged

and an opportunity for

employees to learn new

knowledge and skills.”



Sean Coffman, the

Dakotas Disaster Program

Manager said it best “the

American Red Cross is here

to help anyone victimized

by disaster, anywhere,

anytime, regardless of

who they are, what they

believe, or the color of

their skin. That’s who we

are and what we do.” And

there can be no disputing

that. Repeatedly, time after

time, the Red Cross has

proven no organization in

the world does it better.



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