2 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 3
Matt Cullen Returns Home to the Minnesota Wild with Family in Mind
with Santa Claus
From Fargo to L.A.
Dan Glaser Directs
His Third Film
ON THE COVER
Born in 270 AD
in modern day
Turkey, was a
real person. He
was known for
to the poor and
acts such as
Matt Cullen, center for the Minnesota Wild, in the
2017-2018 season home opener at the Xcel Energy
Center. Photo: Darren Losee / Urban Toad Media
IN EVERY ISSUE
NOT IN MY FAMILY - Part Three
Good Neighbor, Jeremy Kelly
Auto Check Up
A Guide to a Healthy Car
MR. FULL-TIME DAD
The Irrational Life of a Parent
HAVING A BEER WITH
The Salvation Army
4 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
Urban Toad Media LLP
OWNER / GRAPHIC DESIGNER
OWNER / PHOTOGRAPHER
Darren Losee / 701-261-9139
READ A PAST ISSUE
The Good Life Men’s Magazine is distributed six times
a year by Urban Toad Media LLP. Material may not be
reproduced without permission. The Good Life Men’s
Magazine accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction
arising from content in this publication. The opinions
expressed, or advice given, are the views of individual
writers or advertisers and do not necessarily represent
the views or policies of The Good Life Men’s Magazine.
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 5
WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR • PHOTOGRAPHY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
The Real Santa
Steeped in a surprising list of legends is a man with
a hundred names. From Kris Kringle to Pelznickel,
Sinterklaas to Weihnachtsmann, the figure of St.
Nicholas has played a part in countries’ holiday customs
across the world. This humble bishop, who lived during
the time of Constantine, often gave secret gifts to those
in need from the inheritance his deceased parents left
in his care. He faithfully lived out his Christian beliefs,
defended the innocent, and helped others selflessly.
For centuries, he has been one of the most notably
kind, compassionate and generous figures in history.
But the real life of St. Nicholas is now hardly known, a
shadow behind the bedtime stories we tell of the Santa
incorporated into our Christmas traditions.
Talking to a Nice Fraud
A few weeks ago, I went undercover and pretended to
be a writer for the Jolly Journal of the North Pole to gain
access to the man in the red suit. This has proven to be
my riskiest mission yet as I chance getting placed on the
naughty list for mischievously impersonating an elf. If
he sees this article, I can only hope he'll at least give me
activated charcoal in my stocking. It's great for detoxing.
One consolation is that he is an imposter, as well,
carrying out a seemingly harmless lie as he hoodwinks
millions of men, women and children. He may pretend
to be the actual, centuries-old gift giver, but in reality,
he’s one of the many honorable torchbearers that have
carried out the yuletide mission. Unfortunately, I wasn’t
able to uncover what his name was before he took over
Santa duties for Tim Allen.
World War II
as Santa and
toys and food
to children in
6 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
Good Life: So, Santa — mind if I call you that, or would
you prefer I call you St. Nick, Nick, Nicki, Big Nicki,
Little Nicki —
Santa Claus: Santa will be fine.
GL: Okay, great. So, Little Nicki, how old are you these
days? You're looking as young and old as ever.
SC: Well, according to Wikipedia, I turn 1,747 this year.
I'm not sure when my birthday is because my mother
wanted to protect me from threatening time travelers.
GL: I see you’ve considerably lost weight. How did you
SC: I went Paleo to fit under door cracks easier.
Fireplaces aren’t as common as they once were, and
storm windows make things more difficult, so I’ve had
to become more creative in my methods of breaking
and entering. All the broccoli I eat has made me pretty
bloated, though, so I still have a bit of a belly.
GL: How did you go from being a human to the immortal
ruler of the northern elf district?
SC: I’d rather not comment.
GL: You’re also the CEO of the biggest toy manufacturer
in the world, which has brought innumerable jobs to the
elven population over the years. That must make you
SC: Knowing I’m helping a once struggling population is
a gift in and of itself, and I’m ho-ho-honored to continue
the legacy… of myself — of what I’ve been doing for ages…
t According to stnicholascenter.org, our American
version of Santa Claus was exhibited well during World
War II when American troops dressed as Santa and
distributed toys and food to children in Europe.
t Many countries celebrate the giving of gifts on St.
Nicholas Day, which is actually December 6. In other
places, Santa makes an appearance in mid-November.
t Reindeer aren’t always the agreed-upon assistants
of Santa on his travels. In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas
rides a white horse. In some areas of France, Belgium,
and other European countries, he’s on a donkey. But the
most terrifying tales of St. Nick’s sidekicks hail from
Austrian, Czech and Slovak traditions where creatures
like Krampus, a devil-like figure, are kept in line by an
angel or the saint himself. •
GL: Why did you emotionally abuse Rudolph, or do
you feel as though you weren't accurately represented
in the 1964 biographical animated film of the same
SC: Honestly, I'm still saddened by how I was
portrayed, though I wasn’t as kind as I should have
been to such a helpful misfit. I was as skinny then as
I am now, and that always makes me less than jolly.
GL: Does Mrs. Claus ever have a problem with all your
SC: She’s usually a trooper and doesn’t get jealous,
but the one song that’s always irritated her is “Santa
Baby.” She wrote those lyrics for me as a poem, but
they accidentally fell out of my pocket when I was
delivering gifts. The people who found the note
turned it into a song. She’s kind of had a thing against
Eartha Kitt ever since, but I have more of a problem
with Michael Bublé.
GL: What does living the good life mean to you?
SC: Oh, kicking back and cracking open a cold nog
with the elves, sitting on the porch with Mrs. Claus, and
driving the sleigh around for an afternoon ride with the
top down. But the best life is when you’re focused on
helping others, showing God’s compassion and love to
everyone you come across.
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 7
NOT IN MY FAMILY // PART THREE
In this special
is dealing with
loss, and now
we shift to a
WRITTEN BY: BRITTNEY GOODMAN
In this special series, we have examined how law enforcement is dealing
with the opioid addiction problem, then a mother’s loss, and now we shift
to a volunteer who is keeping people safe and saving lives.
Jeremy Kelly is the founder and director of the F-M Good Neighbor
Project which focuses on heroin and opioid addiction and helping
the addict. This nonprofit, 501 C3, volunteer-run organization does
community outreach. It also offers a drop-in center, naloxone
training and distribution, a needle exchange and HIV and
Hepatitis C rapid testing.
The office is located at 1208 Center Avenue in Moorhead, and
while the hours vary depending upon volunteer availability,
Kelly can be reached by his phone whether the facility is
open or not: “I drive all over town and get to everybody
who calls me.” He currently directs the project on a
volunteer basis but is on track to focus more time on it
with upcoming donations and grants. Kelly’s contact
number is 701-214-3083. A Fargo-Moorhead native,
Kelly also works as an Advocate for the Gladys
Ray Shelter and Veterans Drop-In Center, which
provides services for homeless persons and any
veterans in need.
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NOT IN MY FAMILY // PART THREE
Kelly felt compelled to act to deal with the
increasing problem of heroin and opioid
overdoses and deaths. He explained: “In the
beginning, I didn’t have an office. I just went
and bought a bulk quantity of syringes – a few
cases – around 2,000 syringes. Then I went
and got trained in how to deal with opiate
overdoses. I then went and picked up about
twenty naloxone kits and brought it all back.
I started by doing trainings in my house and
then doing home trainings and deliveries of
naloxone and needles. A couple of months
after that I rented the space and started getting
Kelly writes the grants to keep the
organization’s work going and when there
is not enough funding, he said, “I provide it
myself.” At times he is putting about half of his
income into the project because: “It is the right
thing to do. It is saving lives.” The organization
accepts monetary donations via its web site.
Kelly expressed gratitude for the many
dedicated volunteers willing to work with what
he calls “sensitive stuff: It’s not for everyone.”
Many of his volunteers are in college and are
studying to be in a health or social work career.
A core service of the project is a needle
exchange program. At its essence, this is a
social service that allows injecting drug users
to obtain clean, unused hypodermic needles
at no cost. It is based on the philosophy of
reducing harm and risk factors from sharing
needles, such as HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis.
While some see this service as controversial, a
recent World Health Organization study found
compelling evidence that these programs
substantially reduce the spread of HIV among
intravenous drug users.
One of the large efforts of the project is
training people to administer the life-saving
naloxone, often known as the brand Narcan.
Kelly called it “the opiate overdose reversal
drug. It blocks the opiate receptors and binds
to them so the opiate can’t enter or it will kick
out the ones that already entered. It binds
with the receptors.” Many police departments
have naloxone with their officers. Kelly’s
organization offers training for anyone in how
to administer naloxone and save someone’s
life during an overdose.
As part of the naloxone training, he tells
people the proper order for helping during an
10 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
overdose: “You need to pinch the person’s nose and
give them breaths, then dial 911, then administer
the naloxone. It works very quickly.” He described
an opiate overdose: “For the most part the person
is experiencing respiratory failure. They are
groggy, nodding out, or they may be completely
unconscious. They may turn blue in the face and
lips – it looks like they are not getting oxygen. You
may not be able to wake the person up.”
Kelly emphasized the F-M Good Neighbor Project’s
societal value: “When a portion of our community
is suffering, it affects the entire community. And
we are seeing this every day – many people who
don’t seem to have a lot of hope: mothers and
fathers losing their children, people losing their
friends and loved ones.”
Kelly asserted that for many people, addiction
is “not a disease or a genetic abnormality or a
defective brain” but it is a social problem and
often situational and temporary. He explained:
“The fact that many people do not feel connected
to the community or to family or friends makes
them need something to feel good. So they may
find it in drugs and chemicals. The answer to this
problem is the community – we are the cure. The
more connected a person is to their loved ones,
their city, their job, the better live he or she has,
the more likely they are to recover from addiction.”
“A strong community is the cure. We need to be
strong for people.” Kelly asserted that Fargo-
Moorhead is a community worth connecting
to: “Fargo-Moorhead is a unique, awesome
community. It really is. I’ve lived elsewhere, but
I feel so different here. It is so good in so many
In the next article in the series, we will focus on
a family’s story and see what our local
community is doing to combat
the opioid problem. •
is the cure. We
need to be strong
- Jeremy Kelly
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 11
Auto Check Up
A Guide to a Healthy Car
WRITTEN BY: MATT LACHOWITZER
How often do you get a checkup? Once a year to visit your
doctor for your yearly check-up, twice to the dentist to get
your teeth cleaned? Maybe a few chiropractor visits for
back pain. Just like we go in to get our health and body
checked up by doctors, we should be doing the same with
our vehicles. To the average person, a vehicle is the second
largest purchase they make, so why not be proactive about
the health of our vehicles instead of reactive? Just like
preventative care for your body, your vehicle needs some
preventative care also to ensure you’re getting the most out
of your vehicle. Here’s a guide to what types of preventative
care your vehicle will need to make sure you get the most
out of your vehicle and to keep it healthy.
State of Health Inspection (Annual Check-Up)
You go to your doctor for your yearly physical, they go over
your medical history, check your vitals, listen to your heart
and perform other exams like checking your abdomen and
reflexes. When you bring your vehicle in for an inspection,
your automotive technician will go through similar
inspecting and testing to ensure that they have a good
understanding of your vehicle’s health.
Testing (Blood Work)
When you’re sick and you don’t know what’s going on,
you go to the doctor and they typically will draw blood to
perform testing and get an answer for you. Just like a doctor,
automotive technicians will perform testing to determine
why your vehicle is making that weird noise or why it’s not
turning on when you turn the key. Your automotive service
center will go through steps like scanning for codes, looking
up bulletins, electrical tests, and many other steps to have
a better understanding of the issues your vehicle is having
and then be able to provide the best course of action to heal
Coolant Flush (Flu Shot)
Flu season is a constant and that’s why doctors recommend
getting a flu shot to combat getting bitten by the flu bug.
Just like a flu shot is to prevent you from getting the flu,
a coolant flush is to prevent your engine from overheating
and causing damage. It cleans out the cooling system and
eliminates rust and fights against corrosion.
Brake, Power Steering and Differential Fluid Exchange
When you drink a lot of water throughout your day, you
feel hydrated, awake and your body works great. When
you perform fluid exchanges on your vehicles systems such
as the brake,
your vehicle is
working on that
same level. They’re
easy ways to ensure
that your vehicle
is performing at
its best and by
doing those fluid
exchanges, it prevents
larger or more costly
repairs in the future.
Oil Changes (Teeth Cleaning)
You go to your dentist twice a year
and they clean your teeth and get
them back in tip-top shape. When
you go in for an oil change, your vehicle gets new oil and
oil filter, and you renew the protection of those vital parts
of your engine, much like the fluoride your dentist applies
to your teeth. These services are important to follow the
schedule that your owner’s manual and service center set
Cabin Air filter (Congested)
Imagine taking a deep breath and feeling congested or
short of breath and in turn having to cough to try to get a
good breath of air. Now imagine taking a deep breath in
your car and having that same feeling. Each vehicle has a
cabin air filter that are typically easy to have replaced. The
cabin air filter like explained in the name, filters outside air
coming into your vehicle. This preventative step can directly
affect your health. A dirty or clogged air filter can cause you
to feel sick and worsen allergies by letting musty odors
and contaminants like pollen and dust into your vehicle.
Changing your cabin air filter gives you and your health that
sense of relief as well.
12 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
vehicle is the
so why not
Alignment and Tire Rotations
Your back’s hurting and you
make an appointment with
your chiropractor to look
and correct any issues. An
alignment with your vehicle
will work the same way. You
bring your vehicle in for an
alignment or tire rotation and
that prevents and relieves
uneven tread wear on your
tires or your steering wheel
being off center when driving
straight. Just like your back
needing to all be in order, your
vehicle’s alignment and tires
work the same way.
Whether it’s your health or your
vehicle, there are great steps to
take to make sure everything is
working in order. Remember,
spending a little on your vehicle
now, can save you more later. If
you ever have any questions on
what maintenance your vehicle
needs and at what mileage to
do it at, your owner’s manual
and your trusted service center
are your go-to resources. •
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 13
Fargo native, Dan Glaser, has
released his third feature film as
director, “Valley of Bones,” a selfdescribed
“Midwestern noir.” But
Glaser has been preparing since
childhood: “I'd always played in
the backyard or the living room,
shooting short films on a clunky
old Panasonic VHS camcorder and
bossing my friends around. I guess
I always was a director at heart;
hopefully my technique has evolved
beyond the bossing.”
Glaser grew up in North Fargo and
was active in Trollwood Performing
Arts School: “I still consider my
summers at Trollwood as the time
where I learned the most about
myself as an artist and as a person.”
The film features Anna, a disgraced
paleontologist pursuing a lucrative
dig site in the Badlands. But to get
at the valuable dinosaur fossil she
must team up with a recovering
meth addict with ties to a dangerous
drug cartel. It was co-written by
Glaser with frequent collaborator,
Steven Molony, also a Fargo native.
Prior to “Valley of Bones,” Glaser
directed “Pinching Penny” and
“Oxenfree.” “Oxenfree” is currently
out on iTunes, Amazon Instant
Video, and Google Play.
“The Good Life” caught up with
Glaser on a recent visit to home
and found out what’s next for this
Fargo native gone Hollywood.
Good Life: What are your favorite
elements of “Valley of Bones?”
Dan Glaser: “We had an incredible
team we were blessed to work
with. From the early days of Steven
Molony and I working closely on the
script with Jon Wanzek (producer/
executive producer) to being on
location in the North Dakota
Badlands with cinematographer
Michael Alden Lloyd and our
incredible cast, and all the way
through post-production with our
insanely talented composers Corey
Wallace and Michael Kramer. Each
step of the way it was a complete
honor to work with these talented
Filmmaking is quite possibly the
most collaborative art form that
there is, and you simply cannot do
it alone. You're a team, a family,
artists-in-arms, and to this day my
favorite part of watching the film
is seeing the work we did together
take life on screen.”
quite possibly the
art form that there
is, and you simply
cannot do it alone.
You're a team,
– Dan Glaser
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GL: Why North Dakota and the
Midwest for locations?
DG: “Steven and I shot ‘Pinching
Penny’ in Fargo, ‘Oxenfree’ in Lake
Cormorant, MN and in the woods
of south Fargo and now ‘Valley of
Bones’ in western North Dakota.
It's been a little Midwest trilogy,
of sorts, and I love being able to
add a Midwestern voice to cinema
that often goes
been very easy
for Jon Wanzek
to save money
New Mexico or
Canada. It was
him that the
film be shot in
“I love Fargo.
It's a wonderful
place to live, and
was an inspiring
place to grow up.
I'm constantly in
awe of the arts
community. I don't
think most people
outside of North
really believe me
when I talk about
– Dan Glaser
GL: Talk about growing up in
DG: “I love Fargo. It's a wonderful
place to live, and was an inspiring
place to grow up. I'm constantly
in awe of the arts community. I
don't think most people outside
of North Dakota/Minnesota really
believe me when I talk about the
I came up through Trollwood,
which is actually where Steven
Molony and I both became aware
of one another. We've both come
back to teach there for the past
few years, and it's been amazingly
rewarding to give back to the place
that gave me so much.
My family is ridiculously
supportive. When it hit theaters,
they went almost every night. They
brought my grandfather a couple
times as well, which really choked
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 15
me up, because I think the last time
he went to the movies was about a
decade ago when I took him to a
western. It was moving to me that
he was able to come out to see it.
My family has always been there
for me and my sister, who lives with
me in L.A. and works full-time as
an actress and singer. I absolutely
would not be here without that
GL: Your producer, Jon Wanzek, is
DG: “Steven and I were in
south Fargo preparing for the
upcoming shoot of our second
feature, ‘Oxenfree.’ We were
canvassing the neighborhood
around our intended shoot, alerting
the homeowners. The last door
we knocked on happened to be
Jon's. When he realized we were
filmmakers, he handed us a
business card. Turns out he had
started a film production company
and was looking for fresh voices in
filmmaking to work with.
So Steven and I met up with Jon
and we pitched ideas around. One
of his passion projects was a story
called ‘Valley of Bones.’ He had
hired a writer initially and there
was a draft, but after reading it
Steven and I proposed starting
from scratch and together with Jon
we built the story from the ground
up. It was a crazily serendipitous
GL: Talk about living and working
DG: “I think Los Angeles is a place
that you either love or hate. I love
it. I think of my friends that live out
there, I may be one of the few who
isn't there just because that's where
the work is, but also because I
genuinely adore the city, scars and
all. Its scars are actually part of the
charm for me. It goes back to noir:
there's such a fascinating history,
a lot of it stranger than fiction. It's
where some of the best noir stories
are set, Chandler's ‘The Big Sleep,’
Wilder's ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ It’s
also the birthplace of cinema.
There's something very alive about
the arts there — a sort of electricity
around L.A. Most everyone is there
to pursue some grand dream. And
you can feel that.”
16 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
“I'd always played in the
backyard or the living room,
shooting short films on a
clunky old Panasonic VHS
camcorder and bossing
my friends around. I guess
I always was a director at
heart; hopefully my technique
has evolved beyond the
bossing.” – Dan Glaser
GL: Talk about the movie’s significant distribution.
DG: “We were shocked by the release size. It isn't
very often that your pipe dream is surpassed, but
that's exactly what happened. A film this size —
this homegrown and outside the industry — a 300
screen national release just doesn't happen. We feel
incredibly blessed with the limited theatrical run.
Look for a holiday home video / digital release from
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.”
GL: What’s next?
DG: “We are writing another project for Jon, working
on a script with Autumn Reeser, the star of ‘Valley
of Bones’ and developing another project with our
‘Oxenfree’ screenwriter Timothy J. Meyer. The
one closest to moving forward is a psychological
Christmas horror film. I'm jazzed about that; we're
hoping to go into production in the spring.”
GL: What does ‘The Good Life’ mean to you?
DG: “Sharing your life with family and friends
is the most important thing. As an artist, I’m
naturally happiest consuming and creating art and
entertainment. Read a book, write a book; watch
movies, make movies - it’s a cycle that I’m very lucky
and honored to be a part of.” •
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 17
COVER // MATT CULLEN
View more photos of
Matt's day with the Cup
View more photos from
the Minnesota Wild
18 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRA FLOERSCH • PHOTOGRAPHY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
Returns Home to
the Minnesota Wild
with Family in Mind
If there’s one thing Matt
Cullen has learned in his
career it’s that some things
just can’t be planned.
Ending the 2017 NHL season holding
his third Stanley Cup, the Moorhead
native didn’t know if he’d return to
play hockey the following season. At
40 years old, Cullen had retirement
in mind. But when the potential
storybook ending to an already storied
career presented itself, the family
packed their bags and moved back
to the Midwest where the hometown
hero will lace up his skates a second
time for the Minnesota Wild.
"My first time here with the Wild
I thought was pretty cool,” Cullen
said. “I was really fortunate to have
the chance to play in my home state.
I understood how lucky I was to do
that and I didn't really expect the
opportunity would come up again or
that I’d have a chance to finish my
career at home.”
But this time was different.
Throughout his career, Cullen had
fought his way to the top. Drafted
by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in
1997, he bounced around during his
early years, playing for the Carolina
Hurricanes, Florida Panthers,
Nashville Predators and other teams
before signing with the Pittsburgh
Penguins for the past two seasons.
While his time in Pittsburgh provided
once-in-a-lifetime experiences — and
two Stanley Cup championships in
2016 and 2017 — Cullen thought it
was time his three boys settled down
and established a bit of normalcy,
preferably back home in the land of
"At this point — I'll be 41 here —
the decision isn't only about you,”
Cullen said of his birthday on Nov. 2.
“Minnesota is good hockey-wise, but
there's a lot more that goes into the
decision now that didn't used to when
TWO STANLEY CUP
in 2016 and 2017
you think about kids and everything
that goes with that.”
Cullen is quick to admit he'll be
leaving something special behind
in Pittsburgh, a community that
welcomed him warmly and with
open arms throughout his tenure
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 19
COVER // MATT CULLEN
"It was a difficult decision because Pittsburgh had been
so good to us, and obviously winning the (Stanley) Cup
the last two years — you can't beat that,” he said. “The
people of Pittsburgh have welcomed us like family and
everything was just perfect but at a certain point, the kids
need to put down some roots. The fact that we can be
home and the kids can still play and be home is the best
of both worlds."
A Power Play for Family
Back in Pittsburgh, the Cullen boys—Brooks (11), Wyatt
(9) and Joey (7) — had access to a brand new facility where
they could skate their little hearts out while a teacher
worked with them 1-on-1 academically. Returning back
to Minnesota this fall, the three began attending Calvin
Christian — a small, private school in Edina, Minn.
"When we came down here, we thought it was probably
time to put them into a real school and start making that
transition,” Cullen said. “We just had a really unique
window in Pittsburgh where everything fell into place
perfectly and we could do our own little academy.”
When the season ramps up and dad begins traveling for
games, Cullen’s kids and wife, Bridget, can make quick
trips home to Moorhead for birthdays and holidays with
While the first years of their lives may have been busy,
the Cullen boys have had their fair share of fun, spending
time in the locker room and around other NHL players.
"That's one of my favorite things about this,” Cullen said.
“I can't really teach them much else so for me to be able
to give them that opportunity — to have them at the rink,
be a part of all this — is special. It makes me, as a dad,
happy knowing these are experiences that will hopefully
last them a lifetime."
The Reality of NHL
Cullen is quick to admit his 20-year NHL career hasn’t
been a cakewalk. The path to the NHL success isn’t
exactly an easy wrist shot on an open net.
“When you first start out, you're fighting so hard to
establish yourself as an NHL player… there are so many
ups and downs that come with that," he said, recalling
earlier years. "You come into the league thinking of
yourself as this kind of player but the NHL is really hard.
You have to adapt and find a way to be an effective player
and make the most of your talents.”
But a little hard work never scared Cullen. Even in high
school, when he was considered a little too slow, he
worked harder instead of accepting defeat.
20 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
"It's all about putting everything you have into whatever
your goal or dream is, whether it's hockey or something
else," he said. "When other kids just plateaued, I kept
improving. Coming from my own experience, I was given
some talent but not much more than anybody else. I
think the hard work that was instilled in me at a young
age is what got me here.”
While height, quickness and coordination might be
genetic, work ethic and effort can be learned.
"That's something that's within everybody's grasp,”
Cullen said. “Not everybody's meant to play in the
NHL, NFL or NBA, but there's no way in knowing
how good you could be unless you put everything you
have into it.”
Great success came with no shortage of effort, work-life
balance and a whole lot of teamwork on the home front.
“As you get older, it's about trying to balance your family
life and your hockey career," Cullen said. "The game
asks a lot of you. You need to be training full-time in the
off-season and then during the season, you're traveling
and practicing a lot. It's very much a balancing act.”
Cullen’s boys also play a part in their dad’s success,
giving their best set of advice before each game.
"They love being around the game,” he said. “They
always have their little ideas on what you should
do and different inputs on the game — it's kind
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 21
COVER // MATT CULLEN
“We feel like it's on us to give back and make a
difference. Those are the things that last — more
so than how many goals you score or how many
Stanley Cups you win. I think it's what you do with
what you've been given." – Matt Cullen
Never taking ‘no’ for an answer, Cullen deked out every
obstacle en route to his dreams.
“Being on a team that won the Cup three different times
— that's what'll go down as my very favorite memories,"
he said. "There are a lot of good players who played the
game for a long time and never had the chance to play for
the Stanley Cup. To experience that — go through that
three different times with two different teams — is just
more than I ever would have dreamed of, honestly. That's
as good as it gets."
Sticks Down, Charity Up
In his (limited) free time, Cullen turns his focus to his
Cullen’s Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization
that raises money for children's healthcare in Fargo-
Moorhead and the surrounding area.
“Fargo-Moorhead is what we'll always consider home,”
Cullen said of he and Bridget. “We felt like that was the
place we really wanted to make an impact and make a
The inspiration for the organization came from a 4-yearold
boy with a cancerous brain tumor Matt and Bridget
had met in Italy. The couple had known they wanted to
start an organization, so when Jacopo came into their
lives, their cause was clear.
"That was one of those things that spurred us to really
get going on it — take it from an idea to really moving on
and making it into something," Cullen said.
Thanks to the foundation’s board members and
Bridget, who takes over once hockey season starts, the
organization is able to remain active throughout the
“She drives the engine on the whole thing,” Cullen
said of his wife. “She takes over a lot of the load in the
winter, along with raising the boys — school, hockey
and all that comes with that. It enables us to continue to
do what we do too in the winter, and get to the summer
where we can really do more.”
Cullen is thankful the community has gotten behind the
organization as well.
"It's become a big foundation and we've been able
to impact a lot of different people and kids,” he said.
“That's more than we could have ever hoped for going
After taking a break the last handful of years — having
funded $1 million for Cully’s Kids Cabin at Sanford —
the team is ready to put some new ideas into play.
"We're in the process of doing some exciting things
that we think are really going to help the community
and have a direct impact on people's lives," Cullen said.
"(The foundation) is something that Bridget and I feel
really strongly about. It'll be something that we support
for the rest of our lives.”
While the Cullen’s family schedule is already packed
22 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
full of travel, school, kids’ sports and other obligations,
they continue giving back to the community.
"Bridget and I talk a lot about it and we feel that we've
been given more than we deserve in life,” Cullen said.
“We feel like it's on us to give back and make a difference.
Those are the things that last — more so than how many
goals you score or how many Stanley Cups you win. I
think it's what you do with what you've been given."
At Full Strength, Many to Thank
Without his wife of 13 years — whom he credits much
of his success to in balancing the workload — Cullen’s
lifestyle wouldn’t be possible.
“Bridget allows me to continue to play at age 41," he
says. "She does so much for me, our family and the
Though Cullen says it’s impossible to list all of his
supporters, his parents and siblings have also played an
instrumental role through it all.
“My dad has always been a huge influence on my career,”
he said of his dad, Terry Cullen, a longtime coach for
Moorhead High School. “He coached me
through high school and is a huge supporter. I
bounce a lot of ideas off him and lean on him
in tough times. I would definitely say he was
a driving force in teaching us work ethic."
His mother, Nancy, played a
similar role to what Bridget
does now, hauling his two
brothers and sister around
to their various sports
or when I was really struggling. They were the perfect
support system the whole way up.”
His brothers, Joe and Mark, both went on to play
professional hockey as well, having just retired in the
past few years.
"We spent every summer training together, so that was
always such a huge influence having my two closest
friends training with me every day,” Cullen said. “We
could push each other and help each other."
The Good Life’s at Home
When asked what it is about Fargo-Moorhead that keeps
his family coming back for more after years of traveling,
Cullen said "it's a number of things.”
“First of all, it's a great place to raise your kids. It's a
small-town feel. People are so nice and helpful,” he said.
"It's hard to really put your finger on what separates it
from other places. But when it's home, it's home and we
For the Cullen family, the real home-ice advantage lies
in Moorhead where they built their new home in April
2016. The plan is to eventually settle down there when
he retires from the NHL. But as he’s learned so
many times before, life has a funny way of
rearranging your well thought out plans.
While Cullen can’t predict what the future
might hold, he’s sure of one thing: the
"The good life means friends, family
and good health,” he said. “That's a
short one for ya." •
"That is the unsung
hero right there,”
he said. “Those are
the ones that don't
get a lot of credit but
they're the ones doing
everything behind the
Even as kids, Cullen’s
brothers challenged him to be
"As soon as you think you're pretty good,
your brother is doing something better
and it can really motivate you,” he said.
“They were always there to help push
me when I thought I was pretty good
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 23
FATHERS // MR. FULL-TIME DAD
WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON
It’s 9:34 a.m. on a Monday — the day this article is
due. “The Good Life” publishes every other month,
which means I’ve had approximately 60 days to write
this story, yet I’ve only just begun. You might say
that’s wildly unprofessional, irresponsible and, at the
very least, illogical. Why wait until the last minute to
complete a project you had two months to work on?
You could question the logic behind a lot of things I
do… as a parent, that is. Upon closer examination of
this still newish world I find myself in — and the things
I find myself doing — I realized that unless you also
live with kids and are simultaneously in charge of their
well-being and your own sanity, you might confuse
our normal behavior for lunacy. And you may not be
wrong. Here are a few notable examples.
Where do I begin? Can anyone tell me (without
Googling it first) what the hell a Derry-O is? Do we
really want to be teaching our kids that life is nothing
but a dream? And why are we celebrating in song the
collapse of a bridge in London?
Very few kids songs make sense, and I suppose that’s
to the benefit of their little imaginations. But that’s not
my main beef. What I find completely unacceptable in
2017 is that there are so many different variations of
the classics. Between Netflix, PBS, CDs from the library
24 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
and two grandmas, my son Macklin has yet to hear the
same version of “The Wheels on the Bus” twice.
And it’s not just different melodies, but the lyrics, too.
There are fewer interpretations of the Old Testament
than there are of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”
If there was one song you’d think we would all agree
on it would be the ABCs, but I swear to you I’ve got
three different versions stuck in my head at any given
Road Trips… at Night
Road trips are a cherished American family tradition.
What better way to discover new places than piling
into the station wagon with two week’s worth of
rations and hitting the open road. Scenic byways,
observation outlooks, historical markers — we plan
our routes largely based on visual appeal… then we
(parents) decide the best time to do the driving is in
the middle of the pitch black night.
Why? So the kids can sleep!
Makes sense, unless… you know, you actually want
to see the sights or include the journey as part of the
experience. I understand the reasoning for the latenight
embark, but I also see how it flies in the face of
whole appeal of taking a road trip. “Hey kids, want to
see the Badlands? Okay, better get to sleep then!”
Quoting “The Simpsons”
I remember my parents telling me that if they
ever caught me watching “The Simpsons”
they’d cancel our cable subscription. Today,
it’s probably rated as a family show, but in the
‘90s it was considered borderline obscene. So
when my wife caught herself quoting lines from
favorite episodes as teachable moments for our
2-year-old, it was a bit surreal.
“The doctor said you wouldn’t have so many
nosebleeds if you kept your finger outta there,”
she said to Macklin. Then, after having “MAMA!
MAMA!” shouted in my face about six times, I
found myself announcing, “I’m not your mother,
See, mom? “The Simpsons” DO have redeeming
Hot Meals Served Cold
Nobody but a parent digs out the cookbook,
makes a grocery list and slaves over a hot stove
only to immediately put that freshly prepared
delicacy into the freezer in order to serve it
cool to their starving son. Only in parenting land
does this make absolute sense. Think about it: if
you were at a dinner party and your host blew
on your plate of spaghetti as he brought it to
the table, you’d question everything for the
remainder of the evening.
If I were a single parent, Mack would be fed a
steady diet of cold cuts, gazpacho and yogurt.
The closest thing he’d get to a hot meal would
be microwaved popcorn.
Three Sets of Everything
If I went to the store and bought myself three
pairs of mittens, three sets of snowpants and
three pairs of boots (all identical, mind you),
I’d be diagnosable. For what, I’m not sure, but I
know that spending pattern isn’t normal. Unless
you’re shopping for a child who’s in daycare.
In that case, it’s perfectly acceptable to buy
multiples of everything, keeping one set at
home, one at daycare and a third in the diaper
bag along with every conceivable emergency
backup item you can think of. I’m pretty sure
there’s even a spare tire in there if you dig down
There, see? Me giving myself only hours to write
— when I legitimately had months — almost seems
practical when judged against the everyday
reality of a parent. Maybe I’ll write a song about
it… set to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”
and 42 other songs. •
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 25
HAVING A BEER WITH // ERIK HATCH
WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR
PHOTOGRAPHY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
good life is a life
of abundance – an
abundance of people, of
laughter, of great food and
drink, of opportunity, and of
love. Notice I didn’t say an
abundance of salad or
an abundance of
jogging." – Erik
aAmidst the throngs of beer at Drekker
Brewing Company in Fargo, Erik Hatch and I
had an energizing chat over a brew and a nonbrew.
This motivational speaker and leader
has a heart for playing a part in people’s lives.
As the CEO and owner of Hatch Realty and
Hatch Coaching and a partner in Abovo, he’s
the mascot of his companies — the self-titled Colonel
Sanders. The only differences are that his beard is
still red, not white, he doesn’t wear spectacles, and I
didn’t see him endorsing fried chicken.
Hatch intended to move away years ago, but he said
God had other plans for him. So far, staying in his
hometown has proven to be far greater than he’d ever
Good Life: What instruments do you play? Do you
Erik Hatch: I have been gifted with a campfire voice —
very loud and always slightly off key. I can play chords
on the guitar, but I can’t necessarily play tabs. I was
a worship leader for seven years, so I got to jam all
the time. I was the guy who’d ask, “Hey, can I sing
26 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
this part?” and they’d be like, “No, we got this.” I was
the most organized, though, so they let me stay in the
GL: What’s your favorite family tradition?
EH: Every year for Christmas, my wife’s family has
ribs, but not just ribs — the world’s greatest, most
succulent ribs with the best possible sauce you’ve ever
had. There’s usually a competition to see who can
devour the most.
GL: Do you win?
EH: No! There are some young, strapping boys in the
GL: How would you react if a large man in a red suit
came barreling down your chimney late at night?
EH: During Christmastime or not during Christmastime?
GL: Ehh, the general Christmas time frame.
EH: Even though I’m big and strong, I’m not very
tough, so I’d probably cower behind my wife. I would
be flabbergasted, call the authorities, and squeal like
a little girl, both in excitement and fear.
GL: If you could become great at something you’re
kind of bad at now, what would you choose —
EH: Golf. Golf. Golf.
EH: I was golfing in a scramble with somebody I hadn’t
met before, and he said, “So, how often do you golf?”
I said once or twice a week and his jaw dropped. I’m
not very good, but I’m good at buying people drinks, so
they still invite me back.
GL: On a scale of zero to utterly delicious, which
would be a 10, how would you rate fruitcake?
EH: I’m going to give it a blechhh.
GL: So, like a zero?
EH: No, that’s a two! It’s a blech, not a regurgitation.
I can digest it, I would just choose not to. But there’s
ne’er a food that I’m dared to eat and won’t. I’m always
up for a challenge, even if it’s blech.
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 27
HAVING A BEER WITH // ERIK HATCH
GL: So what would be a better use
for fruitcake? Others have mentioned
doorstops and paperweights.
EH: I would imagine there are some spas in town that
could use the kiwi to exfoliate and sponge some of the
toxins out of your body.
GL: Is there kiwi in fruitcake? There’s a lot of citron in
the store-bought ones and stuff…
EH: Kiwi is a citrus fruit — I think.
GL: I mean, I don’t think there is traditionally, but
there has to be a Hawaiian, tropical version.
EH: Can I check my phone?
GL: Yes, please.
EH: “Easy Cooking: Kiwi Fruitcake.” Just because my
family isn’t like yours, don’t judge me. What kind of
jeans are those? Oh, judgey pants? Okay.
GL: Yep, yep. But now I’ve mentally transitioned into
sweatpants that are non-judgmental.
EH: Thank you.
GL: Do you think growing up as a redhead changed
your personality and experiences at all?
EH: My experiences, yes. I was always that safe
friend to hang out with. I couldn’t go into the sun very
directly, so there was safety in sunscreen. I wouldn’t
say I had a robust dating life growing up. I’m not a
full-blown ginger, I’m like a partial ginger. You’re fullblown.
GL: Ehhh, I’m strawberry blonde, so I’m a half-breed.
EH: Sure, whatever your mirror says to make you feel
GL: Hey, it changes depending on the light.
EH: But I really don’t know what to classify myself as.
I never knew what to put on my driver’s license. I don’t
think I’m red. I don’t think I’m brown. I don’t think
I’m blond. I just want to know my place. “Outcast” is
usually a word they place with us gingers.
GL: And “judged.”
28 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
GL: To go in line with the
slogan of a great brand of
pizza, what do you want on
EH: I want one simple
statement. “Erik was a
chapter in many books.”
GL: That’s so good, especially
considering I just asked that
question without warning.
EH: Isn’t that fun? I was
having a conversation with
Mark Anderson, the CEO
of BlackRidgeBANK. He’s
brilliant. I was telling him
about how I want to live this
big, audacious life and how
I want to have an awesome
autobiography written about
me. He said, “You know, it
sounds like it would make
more sense for you if you
were a chapter in everybody
else’s book.” I’ve taken that
and claimed it as my own.
That’s the easiest way to
summarize what I do and
why I want to do it.
GL: What does living the
good life mean to you?
EH: Living the good life is
a life of abundance — an
abundance of people, of
laughter, of great food and
drink, of opportunity, and of
love. Notice I didn’t say an
abundance of salad or an
abundance of jogging. I ran
a marathon and I’m never
doing that again. •
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 29
LOCAL HERO // THE SALVATION ARMY
The Salvation Army
WRITTEN BY: DANIELLE TEIGEN
PHOTOGRAPHY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
It’s only natural that when you hear the words “Salvation
Army,” you immediately think of the Yuletide tradition of
bell ringing and red kettles. For nearly 130 years, the
Salvation Army has ingrained that image into the minds
of people the world over, but the organization is more
than metal kettles and a cacophony of bells ringing into
the frigid night air.
The organization actually began as a church, one that
embraced the most destitute and defeated; back in
Victorian England, William Booth saw a need but his
own church refused to support his unconventional
idea of preaching to the people, so he and his wife
left the church and set out on their own. Major
Elaine Medlock can recite that story as though
its her own personal story; she goes on to say
that while the way the Salvation Army ministers
has evolved over time, the organization still
embraces the basic principles of soup, soap
“Because you can’t talk to someone about
their soul when they’re hungry,” she explains.
Medlock and her husband Byron are the
officers of the Fargo Salvation Army, and
they’ve been leading the organization for
the past 5 years but have been officers for
32 years. The call to serve came early,
likely from Medlock’s early experiences
playing on the Salvation Army’s
playground behind her house where
she grew up in Wichita, Kansas. Her
30 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
Elaine and Byron Medlock
family began attending church
services there, but later found a
different religious community. She
returned when she was 16, though,
because it felt like home; her parents
returned a few years later.
Medlock says she never meant to
become an officer for the Salvation
Army – she wanted to work as a
secretary, which she did. After
getting married and having her
children, though, she realized a
higher purpose. “I felt that God had called me to be an
officer,” she says. So, in 1984, she and husband moved
to Chicago with their two little boys and enrolled
at the College for Officer’s Training. They’ve been
serving the Salvation Army since 1986, and while
they primarily work as pastors and administrators,
they do a little bit of everything. “Anything that needs
to be done, we do,” she says. “We can’t ask anyone to
do something we aren’t willing to do ourselves.”
And just what the Salvation Army does goes far beyond
"You can't talk to
their soul when
— Major Elaine
the red kettles. While the importance
of that annual campaign cannot be
emphasized enough — it provides
the financial lifeblood that sustains
the organization and its programs
throughout the year — the Salvation
Army offers a variety of services
and programs aimed at serving the
people in the community often most
in need but least likely to be helped.
Worship and Fellowship
Thanks to those original roots as a church, the
Salvation Army offers a variety of spiritual services
ranging from Sunday services at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
to Bible studies, youth programs and Sunday school.
“The Salvation Army is a place where anybody can feel
comfortable and welcome,” Medlock says.
The organization offers individual ministries for men,
women and children, all with the intent to serve their
practical and spiritual needs.
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 31
LOCAL HERO // THE SALVATION ARMY
“(The Salvation Army is)
just a wonderful place
to volunteer. I get so
much more out of it
than I could ever hope
to give.” — Volunteer
Feeding the Mind and Spirit
In addition to serving hurting souls, the
Salvation Army feeds those in need by offering
free hot meals five days a week in its spacious
cafeteria in its building, located at 304 Roberts
The Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team
responds to local disasters by supporting first
responders and anyone affected by the disaster
by providing food, drinks and other items.
Last year, the organization responded to more
than 40 disasters and helped more than 2,000
In addition, its Mobile Outreach Meals (MOMS)
program offers hot lunch to children throughout
the summer at parks in neighborhoods in need.
The Salvation Army also offers food baskets
leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas to
help ensure families have a hearty holiday meal
waiting for them.
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Cuts and Coats for Kids
The Salvation Army also offers two
other important annual programs.
The organization partners with Josef’s
School of Hair Design for Cuts for Kids,
a one-day event where professionals give
haircuts to kids who are preparing to
return to school.
Every September, the Salvation Army
holds a donation drive to collect hats,
gloves, coats and boots to be distributed
to children and families in need before
winter hits. Coats for Kids & Families
would not be possible without the
community’s generosity, and last year,
more than 1,500 coats were distributed
during the event.
Handing Out Hope
Pathway of Hope is a program for families
to help connect parents and children to
available resources. The Salvation Army
team helps a family develop a plan,
chart progress, work toward goals and
celebrate success along the way.
Last year more than
1,500 coats were distributed
during Coats for Kids
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LOCAL HERO // THE SALVATION ARMY
that’s the good life —
“It’s the most important thing
we do,” she says. “It’s both the
easiest and often the hardest
thing we do.”
Soap Then Salvation
In 2016, the Fargo Salvation Army distributed more than
1,000 personal care kits of shampoo, soap, toilet paper and
other hygiene items to people in need. Other aspects of the
family services arm of the organization include offering
transportation, prescription and housing assistance.
No matter what program you think of when you hear
“Salvation Army”, the work wouldn’t be possible without the
army of nearly 10,000 volunteers powering them.
“We couldn’t do all of this without them,” says Volunteer
Coordinator Julie Rivenes. “These people keep us going.
They are amazing.”
Nancy Hagen and Sandi Swor are two such amazing
volunteers. Swor took a quick break from serving breakfast
to explain her dedication to the organization, which started
more than 5 years ago. She’s volunteered with nearly every
service and she does it all with a generous spirit. “It’s fun to
meet these people,” she says. “I treat them all with respect.”
Hagen was brought to the organization years ago through bell
ringing with her church, but kept coming back to experience
more volunteer opportunities.
“It’s just a wonderful place to volunteer,” she says. “I get so
much more out of it than I could ever hope to give.”
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Though she still helps ring bells, Hagen also assists
with the Cuts and Coats events, food baskets, EDS,
and serving breakfast once a week with her husband.
“I just enjoy being here,” she says. “I enjoy wishing
them a good day, because often they appreciate just
The smiles abound whenever the events involve kids,
but it’s not just the children who appreciate the winter
wear. “When the kids get a new jacket, they’re just so
excited,” Hagen says. “Those things reward me.” She
tells a story of a woman who came into get her child a
coat but needed one herself, though she was skeptical
one her size was available. Hagen found one, though,
and the woman cried tears of joy. “She said she hadn’t
had a winter coat in three years,” Hagen remembers.
Serving that need — and the needs of so many others
— is what has driven Medlock and her husband for
more than three decades. But come June, they’ll hang
up their Salvation Army uniforms for the civilian
clothes of retirees while a new husband and wife duo
settles in to lead the Fargo organization.
“It’s not the job I ever dreamed of doing but I can’t
imagine not doing it,” she says.
Medlock says that’s the good life — serving people.
“It’s the most important thing we do,” she says. “It’s
both the easiest and often the hardest thing we do.” •
Like many nonprofit
organizations, the Salvation
Army relies on the generosity
of people to donate many of
the items used regularly. The
items always of greatest need
include toilet paper, diapers
(size 5), and gloves and socks
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