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.
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.
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
BY: MEGHAN FEIR
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
VOLUME 2 • ISSUE 5
ON THE COVER
18 CHRIS BERG - STAY CLASSY FARGO!
From Playing Football to Broadcasting:
Berg, TV Host, Salesman, Father,
Shares His Point of View
in every issue
16 HAVING A BEER WITH ...
Fargo Police Lieutenant - Joel Vettel
12 Tips on Raising Boys
30 LOCAL HEROES
AMERICAN RED CROSS - The Power of
Volunteers Bearing Help and Goodwill
02 METHODS OF RECOVERY
How to Respond When You Can’t
Remember Someone’s Name
06 MASTER OF THE STRINGS
How One Luthier is Keeping Music Alive
in the F-M Area
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10 MIDWEST MUSCLE
New Gym Offers Unique Atmosphere
12 CAR CLUBS SPOTLIGHT
The Good Life Interviews Three Local
Car Clubs That Do More Than Just
Fix Up Old Cars
24 THE MAN WITH THE BANDS
Pat Lenertz is One of the Busiest
Musicians in Fargo-Moorhead
Alisha Underlee Nelson
FOLLOW URBAN TOAD MEDIA ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK
How One Luthier is Keeping Music Alive
in the F-M Area
BY: MEGHAN FEIR | PHOTOS: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
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,”
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
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, christianeggertviolins.com, 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
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.
BY: JESSICA JASPERSON | PHOTOS: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
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
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
and it’ll give
people who take
an edge over
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
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.”
THE GOOD LIFE INTERVIEWS THREE LOCAL CLUBS
THAT DO MORE THAN JUST FIX UP OLD CARS
BY: PAUL HANKEL | PHOTOS: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
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.
TOPPERS CAR CLUB
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.
SWANKS CAR CLUB
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
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.
SUEDES CAR CLUB
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.
BY: PAUL HANKEL | PHOTO: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
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
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
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
BY: JESSICA BALLOU | PHOTOS: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
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.
‘AN ACT OF GOD’
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
you were on some
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.
‘I REALLY LOVE WHAT I’M DOING’
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
PLAYING FOOTBALL AND SETTING GOALS
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,
PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: CHRIS BERG
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
BY: ALICIA UNDERLEE NELSON | PHOTOS: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
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
“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
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
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,
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.
PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH.
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.
NEVER STOP TEACHING, JUST CHANGE
HOW IT’S DONE.
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.
TREAT YOUR WIFE, MOTHER, AND
OTHER WOMEN WELL.
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
PRAY WITH HIM.
Watching you pray, and praying with you, will
help him to feel comfortable praying and show
him the privilege, and power, that comes from
GIVE HIM OPPORTUNITIES TO
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.
TAKE HIM TO CHURCH WITH YOU.
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.
BE HONEST WITH HIM.
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.
WORK HARD AND SHOW THEM HOW
TO WORK HARD.
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.
ENCOURAGE, NOT DISCOURAGE, HIS
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 AllProDad.com.”
The Power of Volunteers
Bearing Help and Goodwill
BY: SOO ASHEIM | PHOTOS: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
we have who are
willing to help
time after time,
we couldn’t do
to be done.
— Brian Shawn
LEARNING WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW
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.
A BIT OF HISTORICAL REVIEW
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.
THE RED CROSS TODAY AND WHAT HAS CHANGED
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
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)
RESPONSE C) RECOVERY.
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.
LOCAL TRAINING AND EDUCATION
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
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.”
WHAT THE RED CROSS
HAS NOT CHANGED
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.