The Good Life Men's Magazine - November/December 2017


Featuring Stanley Cup Champion Matt Cullen from the Minnesota Wild. Local Hero - The Salvation Army. An interview with Film Director Dan Glaser and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine.




Matt Cullen Returns Home to the Minnesota Wild with Family in Mind



An Interview

with Santa Claus


From Fargo to L.A.

Dan Glaser Directs

His Third Film


Saint Nicholas

Born in 270 AD

in modern day

Turkey, was a

real person. He

was known for

donating money

to the poor and

other charitable

acts such as

gift giving.

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




Good Neighbor, Jeremy Kelly



Auto Check Up

A Guide to a Healthy Car



The Irrational Life of a Parent



Erik Hatch



The Salvation Army



Urban Toad Media LLP


Dawn Siewert


Darren Losee


Meghan Feir

Alexandra Floersch

Brittney Goodman

Ben Hanson

Matt Lachowitzer

Danielle Teigen


Darren Losee / 701-261-9139






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. / THE GOOD LIFE / 5


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.


Our American

version of

Santa Claus

was exhibited

well during

World War II

when American

troops dressed

as Santa and


toys and food

to children in



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

do it?

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…

Santa Facts

t According to, 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. / THE GOOD LIFE / 7


In this special

series, we

have examined

how law


is dealing with

the opioid


problem, then

a mother’s

loss, and now

we shift to a

volunteer who

is keeping

people safe

and saving



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.



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


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. •

“A strong


is the cure. We

need to be strong

for people.”

- Jeremy Kelly / THE GOOD LIFE / 11

Auto Check Up

A Guide to a Healthy Car


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

your vehicle.

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

(Drinking water)

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,

power steering

or differential(s),

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.


To the


person, a

vehicle is the

second largest


they make,

so why not

be proactive

about the

health of

our vehicles

instead of


Alignment and Tire Rotations

(Chiropractor Visit)

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. • / 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.”

“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,


– Dan Glaser


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

unheard. It

would have

been very easy

for Jon Wanzek

to save money

and shoot



New Mexico or

Canada. It was

important for

him that the

film be shot in

North Dakota.”

“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

the opportunities


– 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

opportunities here.

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 / 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

from Fargo?

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

in LA.

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.”


“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.” • / THE GOOD LIFE / 17


View more photos of

Matt's day with the Cup

View more photos from

the Minnesota Wild

Home Opener



Matt Cullen

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

10,000 lakes.

"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

Pittsburgh provided


experiences —



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

there. / THE GOOD LIFE / 19


"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.


"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

of fun." / THE GOOD LIFE / 21


“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

into it.”

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


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

love it.”

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

good life.

"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 / THE GOOD LIFE / 23



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.

Kids Songs

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


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

deep enough.

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. • / THE GOOD LIFE / 25




"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." – 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


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.

GL: Okay.

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. / THE GOOD LIFE / 27


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.”


GL: To go in line with the

slogan of a great brand of

pizza, what do you want on

your tombstone?

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. • / THE GOOD LIFE / 29


Local heroes

The Salvation Army



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

and salvation.

“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


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

someone about

their soul when

they're hungry."

— 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. / THE GOOD LIFE / 31


“(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

Nancy Hagen

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

Street North.

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.


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.

Bryan Hagen

Last year more than

1,500 coats were distributed

during Coats for Kids / THE GOOD LIFE / 33


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.”

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.”

Julie Rivenes


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

a smile.”

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

for adults. / THE GOOD LIFE / 35

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