The Good Life Men's Magazine - November/December 2019

TheGoodLife

On the cover - West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller, Local Hero - Fargo Police Sergeant Kevin Pallas, Having a Beer with Radio Host, Scott Hennen, Hunting with Bret Amundson and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine.

FATHERS | MR. FULL-TIME DAD

MOVING ON,

NOT LETTING GO

WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Almost ten years to the day after my wife, Emily, and I

moved into our first home together, we packed up all our

earthly possessions and moved south … approximately

30 blocks. There were four of us to move this time

around, including our son, Macklin, and our dog, Lucy.

After ten years of accumulation, and now being fully

moved into a home roughly twice the size, it's amazing

how much we crammed into that first home.

Beyond the physical stuff — which we brought with us, for

better or worse — the move provided a wonderful

excuse to get lost in nostalgia over all the

intangible stuff we also crammed in during

the past ten years. We created enough

memories, learned enough lessons

and experienced enough "firsts" to

write a small memoir … minus all

the heroics and achievements one

normally reads about in memoirs.

And so, the hardest part of the

move wasn't physical, although

I'll never again be a willing

participant in moving a piano.

For me, moving felt like

forever walking away from

the set and setting of my life

as a full-time stay-at-home dad

— arguably the greatest time of

my life.

I will never again be greeted by those

seven steps up from the front door to

the living room, where Mack learned to

climb stairs, or the seven steps down to

the basement, where he was often too

adorably afraid to go by himself. I will

never get to chase Mack in circles around the

wall that divided the kitchen from the living

room. I'll never sit under our flowering

front tree with him on a blanket like we

did every sunny day before he learned to

walk. I'll never walk in to wake him up in his

old bedroom, where I put together his crib

not once, but twice … and then a third time,

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when he grew big enough to transform it into a toddler bed.

We'll never walk the same loop around the neighborhood

like we did every day, rain or shine, warm or cold just to get

out of the house for a while. I could go on, obviously.

In the days after the move, I fought hard against the instinct

to drive past the old house, because I knew I would never

make it without crying. Even now, months later, the only

way I will drive through the old neighborhood is if Macklin

is with me and he asks to see the house. (OK, I always bring

it up, but I let him make the final call.)

Last week he accepted my offer, and as we slowly crept by

the old house, Mack said something with a profound deeper

meaning: "I liked that house, Daddy. Yeah, it's a good house.

I like our new house, too."

A weight lifted off my shoulders … promptly falling directly

into my tear ducts. My 4-year-old simplified my feelings for

me, taking the edge off and giving me permission to keep

loving our old home, while still celebrating the beginning of

many new adventures in our new home.

In the weeks leading up to the move, Emily and I wondered

how Macklin would transition to the new house. Not

surprisingly, he handled it the best out of all of us … after

all, he's got the memory and attention span of a 4-yearold.

Emily compulsively painted our bedrooms. Lucy had

an accident the first time she smelled a trace of the prior

owner's dog, something she hadn't done in years. My

transition object was the lawnmower — I took extra care

getting to know the new yard, taking twice as long to mow it

as I otherwise would.

Macklin, however, settled

right in. We knew he was

over the whole move on

day two when he refused

to get dressed for the day.

"It's mine own home

to be naked in," he

declared. He was right.

We were home. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 3


CONTENTS

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019

Volume 7 • Issue 3

02

FATHERS - Mr. Full-Time Dad

Moving On, Not Letting Go

06

Novembers in North Dakota

Hunting with Bret Amundson

10

18

More Than Survival

8 Ways to Make Winter (Kind of)

Fun Again

ON THE COVER - Dan Fuller

Fueled by Fighting Fire

Amidst Flame and Smoke,

West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller

Keeps His Focus

14

24

Heavy Lifting for a Living

High Power Crane

HABW - Having a Beer with

Radio Host, Scott Hennen

30

Local Hero - Kevin Pallas

Equal Parts Heart, Humility

and Talent

Fargo Police Sergeant Kevin Pallas

Leads with Inspiration, Kindness

and Innovation


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Meghan Feir

Ben Hanson

Alexis Swenson

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urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 5


WRITTEN BY: BRET AMUNDSON

PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: BRET AMUNDSON

When I took a radio job at 107.9 The Fox in the spring

of 2000, I envisioned a future of recording studios,

Fargodome concerts and all the free pizza coupons I could

handle. What I didn’t realize is that the outdoor adventures

North Dakota had to offer would change my life forever.

I grew up in a hunting and fishing family that traces our

roots back to Canada and even Sweden. Farming on

the prairie near Norquay, Saskatchewan and then later

near Alvarado, Minnesota gave my ancestors ample

opportunities to live off the land with crops and wildlife.

Our farming days ended when my grandpa moved south

but the love of all things wild stayed strong.

We hunted western Minnesota for pheasants, near

Alexandria for ducks and northwestern Wisconsin for

whitetails.

Then real life happened. I went into the wild and wacky

world of radio. Don’t get me wrong, it included some of

the most exciting moments of my life, but it was my LIFE.

Most radio people will tell you that they don’t get much

of a chance to do anything else. I came to that realization

during one fall when the NDSU football team was really

gaining popularity. As much as I enjoyed watching their

success, I was jealous of the Saturday mornings my friends

were spending in the field, instead of tailgating. No offense

to the Bison Nation, but I was being pulled in a different

direction.

One fateful day I was summoned into my boss’s office and

notified that a format change was coming and that after

ten years in the same building, I would be searching for

new employment. Such is life in the radio “biz”.


I almost thanked them as I walked out. It was time for

something new. It was time to get back to what my family

spent most of their free time doing. But it wasn’t just

a knee-jerk response to my newfound freedom; it was

something inside me that was affected by a few hunting

trips across the state Teddy Roosevelt fell in love with.

The Badlands

I had a few friends that made yearly trips to western

North Dakota to hunt mule deer. Knowing that drawing

a muley buck tag for rifle was a long shot, I went into

Scheels and picked out a new bow. Soon I was walking

butte ridges in fresh snowfall, staring wide-eyed at the

beautiful expanse around me. I wouldn’t shoot a mule

deer that year, but the first-timer bow hunting experience

in that landscape caused me to leave the 30.06 at home

– by choice – ever since.

The Waterfowl

Duck hunting was what I enjoyed most growing up. I

even have a class ring from high school with a mallard

and shotgun shells on it. I bet you’d get expelled for

something like that now. Anyway, I loved hunting ducks.

I just wasn’t very good at it. I also didn’t hunt in a great

flyway and didn’t have many friends that did it either.

Most of my family had given up on green wings and

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focused on whitetails. So it was usually just me trudging

out to the slough and hoping to see something come

into range.

Then I moved to North Dakota.

I knew a few guys that hunted hard and were very good

at it. They had these crazy contraptions called “layout

blinds”. Us water hunters from Minnesota and Wisconsin

didn’t use them often, but in the prairie pothole regions,

you have more options for field hunting.

Dick Voight at KFGO lent me a blind the next morning I

was peering through the mesh top wondering what was

about to happen. As the sun crept over the horizon the

air filled with more ducks and geese than I’d seen in all

my falls. Again, my eyes were as wide as a wheat field

and as I shot holes in the sky, I thought to myself, “I need

to get one of these layout blinds.”

The Snow Geese

When people ask me what my favorite thing to do is,

I usually answer with “Snows.” They can be absolute

jerks 99% of the time, but when they do it right, there’s

nothing else like it. They’re the only waterfowl around

that can number in the thousands when they bomb into

your decoys. Their noise can drown out an ambulance


and the wariness the older birds often have makes them

tough to trick. While so much satisfaction comes from

a successful hunt, it’s not what makes me get weak in

the knees about them. It’s the sheer numbers of the

migrating birds that can be seen in one day. It’s mindblowing

when there are flocks stringing across your

entire field of view with endless more flocks behind

them, barking and squawking their way north in the

spring or south in the fall. And when it happens, there’s

just simply nothing else like it.

I’d heard about the spring migration from a few people

but anecdotal evidence doesn’t do the sight justice. So

one day, I drove west from Fargo, then south, then west,

then north a little, then west again until I saw a flock.

Then I stopped. I didn’t have a gun or a license or decoys

or an ecaller or even a camera that day. Just my eyes. I

parked on the side of that road for hours and watched

snow geese fly overhead nonstop the entire time. Again,

my eyes were lit up like the Fargo Theater sign and from

then on, I knew I’d be obsessed with these white birds.

Since those experiences, I’ve shot big deer with my

bow, traveled to Argentina for ducks and Saskatchewan

for snows, and while it all started with my family

introducing me to the outdoors, it was the Novembers

in North Dakota that changed my life forever. •

"Duck hunting was what

I enjoyed most growing up.

I even have a class ring from

high school with a mallard

and shotgun shells on it.”

- Bret amundson

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 9


WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR

As soon as September hit, I knew something was different.

Last winter "done did me in," as it were. I’m not even being

that dramatic. Think of it this way: We live in a place where

outdoor festivals celebrating winter get canceled because

it’s too dangerously frigid outside.

Before you think, “Then just move, you snowflake,” please

hold on. I’m trying to make the best of the impending death

of all that’s still alive, like when I searched for “fun winter

activities” the other week. I kept stumbling on less than

mediocre “ideas,” such as drinking hot liquids to pass the

time, or using something called a telephone to talk to a

friend.

This is why I took the matter into my own hands. My husband

Tim and I decided to come up with a "Winter Sur-thrive-al"

list of activities we could do to stay sane from January to

March (let's be honest — May) when the temps are so cold

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it makes your snot freeze in your

nose. While I’ll apologize for the

name, I won’t apologize for the

ideas I’m listing because they’re a

lot better than telling you to drink

warmer than usual beverages.

Since it's unlikely the January

gales will carry us off to the island

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 11


Whether you're married, dating, have living

relatives or know someone you can kind of call a

friend, make up a new tradition with them.

of Java, let’s make the best of our time on the frozen

prairie with yet another list of some not-too-bad ideas

for your loved or liked ones and you to do together this

season.

Winter Sur-thrive-al Activities

1. Learn a language on your own or with a friend

or lover

There are plenty of apps and podcasts available that can

teach you other languages for free. Coffee Break Languages

podcasts and the DuoLingo app are two excellent options.

If you learn with a buddy, you can challenge each other and

keep the momentum going. Once you have some fluency

going on, you can also have secret conversations in public

and talk about other people in front of their backs, just

like my Spanish speaking friends did to me in high school.

Please note: When people stare, point and laugh, they’re

definitely talking about you.

2. Make up some traditions

Whether you're married, dating, have living relatives or

know someone you can kind of call a friend, make up a

new tradition with them. There's a reason people have

lasting traditions throughout their family lineage. It helps

people bond, and it's something to look forward to during

the season of depression (this excludes lutefisk).

3. Sleep in on a Saturday and watch cartoons

Maybe it's because my love for cereal as a child was an

unhealthy obsession. Perhaps it's because I still love and

protect my stuffed animals. Whatever the reasons are,

I still believe some Saturdays should be spent sleeping

in until at least 9:35 a.m., eating cereal and watching

cartoons.

4. Host dress-up dinner parties

Tim and I are big proponents of costumed dining (dressup

dinner parties). In the last few years, we've probably

had at least one every season with some of our friends.

You can make it a murder mystery, too, if you desire.

The main point is to have a theme, make sure everyone

dresses up, assign food or beverage items for people to

12 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

bring, and see what strangeness ensues throughout the

evening. Remember to take pictures.

5. Plan a trip, big or small

You can take a little excursion during the months

aforementioned or plan ahead for a spring or summer

vacation. Having something to look forward to is of

utmost importance, and, if you do the planning early, you

don't have to spend your time indoors on your devices

hashing out all the details when you could be outside

planting asparagus or kayaking down the dirty ol’ Red.

6. Sunday dinner

This kind of ties in with No. 3, but consider having a

weekly or monthly ritual of feasting with those whom you

love the most.

7. Volunteer and help others

The Midwest is a brutal place in the fall, winter, and,

well, the spring, especially if you don’t have a warm place

to call your own. Help people and animals often. This

actually benefits you, too, and will give you a greater

sense of purpose. Even if you don’t volunteer at a soup

kitchen or a shelter, you can help the homeless by creating

care packages filled with everyday items. When you see

them on the street, you’ll be prepared. Maybe throw in a

blanket, some food, water, gloves, socks, and a Bible or

another book filled with reminders of hope — anything to

help people survive.

8. Get all kinds of cozy with your kids (or S.O.)

Don’t underestimate the power of playing games (not

mind games). Maybe Candy Land isn’t in your top 10,

but playing board games, working on puzzles, or finding

some other activity your kids will love helps you connect

and lighten up — unless you’re one of those crazies that

has to win every time in order to be happy.

Whether you choose to try any of these ideas or not,

make sure you set fun goals for yourself this winter. We

need little things to look forward to every day amidst the

simultaneously bland and busy weeks. Don’t just wait for

excitement; create it. •


urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 13


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THANK GOD I’VE NEVER

DROPPED ANYTHING.

I’VE BEEN FORTUNATE,

AND NONE OF OUR GUYS

HAVE EVER DROPPED

ANYTHING EITHER.”

– TODD BREIDENBACH

WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

When you get into a conversation with a crane operator —

you know, the guys sitting in the cab running the big cranes

lifting giant beams, HVAC units or million dollar engines — two

questions always pop up: Have you ever dropped anything and

how in the world do you go to the bathroom?

According to Todd Breidenbach — owner of High Power Crane,

a regional crane company named in honor of his faith and jointly

operated with his wife out of Sabin, Minn. — it turns out the second

question is rather benign for most crane operators. They simply call for

a break, climb out and take care of business, as they’re operating mobile,

truck-mounted cranes. The tower crane operators, on the other hand, are

stuck hundreds of feet up in the air and can’t simply climb out when nature

calls.

The crew gets breaks,” Breidenbach explained. “If you gotta stop and take a

break you just tell the guys, as there’s usually nothing pressing other than if you’re

holding a load in the air or if you’ve got somebody in a man basket that’s suspended,

you can’t get out of the cab… you can’t get out of the cab with a suspended load.”

As for that first question, you’d think for a guy who’s been lifting unwieldy objects

into the air the better part of two decades, Breidenbach would have at least one good

story to share about dropping something. Lucky for him and all his clients, no such story

exists.

“Thank God I’ve never dropped anything,” Breidenbach said with a noticeable sigh of relief.

“I’ve been fortunate, and none of our guys have ever dropped anything either.”

Fortunate, yes. Lucky, perhaps. But more so, the combined years of experience on Breidenbach’s

crew is absolutely the key element to the company’s record of safety and success. Lucky for their

customers, though, crane operators are required to carry a special kind of insurance.

“Once we have it picked up off the ground [on the end of our hook], basically we own it until

we set it back down again,” Breidenbach explained. “Our insurance covers anything you have

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 15


“EVERY JOB IS DIFFERENT. IT TAKES

DIFFERENT RIGGING AND DIFFERENT

SETUPS. IT’S A DIFFERENT CHALLENGE

EVERY TIME.” – TODD BREIDENBACH

hanging off the end of your crane. MRI machines being

placed inside hospitals, for example, back in the day were

million dollar picks.”

Getting His Start

As one might imagine, Breidenbach didn’t just one day

wake up and decide to climb into “the upper” of a crane —

the control seat of the crane itself, vs. “the lower” where,

on a truck-mounted crane, you actually drive the crane

down the road to the job site. He worked his way up,

gaining experience on job sites, learning how to maintain

the cranes and set up the rigging required to operate a

crane and safely get the job done.

“I wasn’t really interested in cranes at first,” Breidenbach

admits, “I was actually working at the penitentiary in Sioux

Falls, S.D., as a stepping stone into a law enforcement

career. But I happened to see an ad in the paper for a crane

company and decided to apply for a rigger roll. Later on

the company announced that they needed a driver, and I

had a CDL, so I started helping move the cranes around…

eventually I started doing maintenance on the cranes, and

soon enough I started the process to become a certified

crane operator.”

16 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

Fast forward 20 years, and Breidenbach knows the

whole process start to finish and continues to do his

own maintenance on his fleet of truck-mounted cranes,

which range from the 50-ton crane he started his

company with, all the way up to his largest crane which

is a 265 ton.

On the Job

On any given day, Breidenbach and his crew from High

Power Crane can be found moving any number of large

items, including ethanol plant equipment, rooftop

heating and cooling units, trusses for new commercial

construction, large propane tanks, hot tub and even

pools.

“We’ve moved some crazy stuff,” Breidenbach said with

a chuckle. “Typically, a contractor calls us up because

they need something fairly heavy moved on a job site

and there’s usually some elevation involved, so they

need a crane to move it. A lot of the contractors when

building apartment, they’ll call us to set the trusses on

top of the building. A lot of heating and cooling guys will

call us to set their units on top of the roofs… take old

ones down and put new ones up.”


Like most things in life, there’s more to it than simply

picking things up and putting them back down.

When the crew pulls up to a job site, they get to put

on their detective hats and inspect the challenge

that lay before them. Every job is different, but more

importantly every job site is different, presenting

unique challenges for setup and rigging.

“Experience helps. The biggest thing with running a

crane is knowing where you can put it, where you can

set up and where you can’t, because every time you

pull up to a job site there are different challenges,”

Breidenbach said. “That’s what makes it so enjoyable

— every job is different. It takes different rigging and

different setups. It’s a different scenario every time.

“We just got done setting a 40,000 pound propane

tank,” he continued. “We came in with the right

amount of counter weights, the right size crane, the

right size pads and the right rigging. We were in and

out of there in about two hours. Everything went like

clockwork.”

And that’s the good life for a crane operator. When

you’ve got a million dollars hanging off your hook,

clockwork precision is exactly what you need.

“I’ve been blessed to run my business alongside my

wife and a great team of operators,” Breidenbach said.

“I get to work with so many great customers I’ve met

over the years. Everyday, doing what I do, because I

love it.” •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 17


ON THE COVER | DAN FULLER

WRITTEN BY: ALEXIS SWENSON • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

18 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

Destined for Firefighting

Firefighting runs in West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller’s blood. Much of

his family has served or currently serves in fire services including his

sister, dad, uncle and cousin. As a boy, Fuller knew firefighting was the

only thing he would do when he grew up. As proof of his dedication at

such a young age, he even has a small picture of his six-year-old self

dressed in a firefighter’s helmet and jacket tucked into a frame on his

office wall.

Fuller found his start serving the public with the Police Explorers

in his hometown near Boston, Massachusetts. Police Explorers is

a career-oriented program that grants young adults the opportunity

to delve into a career in law enforcement by working with local law

enforcement. This program eventually led Fuller to a job working as

a Security Officer for one of the malls near his hometown. Since his

stint as a Security Officer, Fuller has acquired more than 20 years of

know-how in public safety with experience in law enforcement, fire

services and emergency medical services.

Fuller joined the West Fargo Fire Department as Fire Chief in 2015

after serving as a captain at the Minot Rural Fire Department, a

senior firefighter with the City of Minot Fire Department, and a

flight paramedic with Northstar Criticair in Minot, North Dakota.

Additionally, in July 1999, Fuller enlisted in the Air Force where he

served for 8 years active duty in Security Forces.

Focusing on Risk Reduction in Light of West Fargo Growth

In the time that Fuller has been West Fargo Fire Chief, the

Department has undergone significant growth in order to continue

effectively serving the rapidly growing West Fargo community. The

West Fargo Fire Department has transitioned from a 40-member, allvolunteer

force, to a combined paid on call and career staff system of

63 members.


“What excites me most is being able

to shape and mold the department

to what works best for West Fargo,

while implementing nationwide best

practices such as Community Risk

Reduction.” – Dan Fuller

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 19


ON THE COVER | DAN FULLER

Recently, the West Fargo Fire Department unveiled their

second-ever strategic plan to cover the years 2019-2023.

With this plan, the Department is anticipating more

energetic growth of West Fargo and initiating programs

to accommodate such. The plans include continued

community risk reduction, an additional fire station, and at

least 24 more personnel to be hired.

The West Fargo Fire Department has recently shifted to

heavily focus on increasing community awareness and

prevention about various hazards. They’ve transitioned

beyond presentations at schools to excite kids about fire

safety and instead aim to connect with the community by

attending community events, canvassing neighborhoods,

facilitating workplace fire safety training, and leading

trainings on active assailant situations.

According to the Department’s most recent strategic plan,

The department isn’t just about responding to fires, but

rather, responding and reducing all hazards within our

community. While fire suppression, emergency medical

services, hazardous materials response, and technical

rescue are the major operational areas we focus our

efforts on, it is important to note that equal time should be

dedicated to Community Risk Reduction efforts.”

The plan continues to include that, “when an act of terrorism

20 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

occurs, or a natural disaster strikes, the department will be

on the front line. That is a fact and an expectation of our

community, as well as communities across our country.

In addition to the response, if the department can reduce

the seriousness of an incident through Community Risk

Reduction, or even prevent it from occurring at all, then we

are bound to do so.”

To adequately carry out Community Risk Reduction

efforts, the West Fargo Fire Department is focusing on

potential threats that may arise in 2-5 years. Fuller wants

the community to know that, “issues that will come up in

six months have already been dealt with. We’re looking way

beyond that now.”

“What excites me most is being able to shape and mold

the department to what works best for West Fargo,

while implementing nationwide best practices such as

Community Risk Reduction,” said Fuller.

The Fuller Family

Fuller’s active family helps to ensure that he has a full, fun

schedule. He recently celebrated his one year anniversary

with Naomi, his wife, who works as a Registered Nurse

with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. Their

blended family of seven guarantees that the couple attends

at least two sporting events a week as their oldest three


kids are heavily involved in sports including lacrosse, football, track & field, and

basketball. Although the two youngest aren’t involved with sports yet, Fuller is

almost certain they will be.

Serving as West Fargo Fire Chief is, without a doubt, a team effort and Fuller’s

family plays a huge role in making it possible.

“My family supports me through understanding that, occasionally, Dad has to

leave for a fire or emergency and that, a few nights a week, I’m in meetings until

8 or 9 at night. When I am gone, my wife Naomi really supports me because she

stays here and takes care of five kids who are involved in several sports teams

and after school activities. My in-laws live in Fergus Falls, and they are great to

come and watch the kids when I have out of town meetings and Naomi travels

with me,” said Fuller.

Dan at age six.

“It is making a difference,

every day, and just maybe,

leaving the community in a

better place than when you

walked in.”– Dan Fuller

A Learner at Heart

Aside from reading in his free time, Fuller routinely seeks continued education.

“Continuous learning leads you to constantly look at the way you are and compels

you to make changes based on others’ best practices. In the fire department, we

are constantly changing to meet a moving goal of providing the best services

possible to the community. I am constantly changing and adapting my leadership

style to meet the demands of a growing organization and community and readying

myself for whatever is next in my career,” said Fuller.

He recently completed a four-year training course from the Federal Emergency

Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy

Executive Fire Officer Program. The EFOP is a series of four graduate equivalent

courses with four applied research projects with concentrations on executive

development, community risk reduction, fire services in emergency operations

and leadership.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 21


ON THE COVER | DAN FULLER

“Much of my free time was spent on completing the applied

research projects for the course. Now that the course is

finished, I’m looking to fill that free time back up with more

advanced education,” said Fuller.

Next, Fuller has his eyes set on The National Preparedness

Leadership Initiative at the Kennedy School at Harvard

University. The two part course with class time in December

2019 and June 2020 will “equip leaders with the skills,

knowledge, and abilities to effectively lead during crisis in

the 21st century.”

Giving Back is The Good Life

The red lights, sirens, and big fire truck are assuredly

glorious parts of the job, but what consistently fuels the

West Fargo Fire Chief the most is more intrinsic.

“I’m passionate about serving the community. My whole

career has been about that – serving others. As I’ve gotten

older, have started to slow down a bit, and especially in the

role I’m in now, what keeps me motivated is the drive to put

others first,” said Fuller.

Fuller’s motivation to serve others expands outside of the

fire station on 1st Avenue as he proudly serves on the

Advisory Board for the Salvation Army, Sanford Health

EMS Education, and the North Dakota Fire Chiefs

Association along with being a member of the West Fargo

Exchange Club. Previously, he has served on the North

Dakota Firefighters Association Certification Advisory

Board and the Professional Firefighters of North Dakota.

“My favorite part of being on the Salvation Army board is

seeing the way how that organization does the most good

for those who are underserved in our communities. From

providing meals in their downtown center, to coats for kids,

22 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


ack to school haircuts, and helping to

navigate the path from homelessness

to getting a roof over their heads, the

organization does a lot to help. Not

to mention their emergency disaster

services, who routinely help the

fire department with rehab of our

firefighters and help homeowners

who have suffered a loss of house,

food, clothing, etc.,” said Fuller.

When asked what the good life means

to Fuller, he thoughtfully said, “To

me, the good life means serving the

community you live in through hard

work and dedication. It is making a

difference, every day, and just maybe,

leaving the community in a better

place than when you walked in.”

In the short four years Fuller has

been Fire Chief, he, coupled with

collaboration from his entire team,

family, and the city of West Fargo,

is already helping to create a more

beautiful and safe West Fargo

community. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 23


HAVING A BEER WITH | SCOTT HENNEN

24 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Scott Hennen, the popular conservative host of What’s On

Your Mind? (aired on WZFG 1100 AM and stations across

North Dakota), has been a part of talk radio since the ‘80s,

but he started working in the radio industry years prior.

Hennen’s parents were on the air, enveloping him in a world

of entertainment, information and opinions. With radio

programmed into his DNA, Hennen began working at a station

part time before he turned 12 years old. By high school, he

was working full time at the local station in his hometown of

Montevideo, Minn.

As we visited in Drekker’s Brewhalla, Hennen told me more

about his life, career and what’s on his mind.

Good Life: What’s one thing from your childhood you

wish would get popular again?

Scott Hennen: Atari video games. They were the most

primitive thing. You move the little square at the bottom

and you had to catch the Ping-Pong ball when it came on

the screen. That’s what passed as a video game when I

was growing up.

GL: If you wouldn’t have grown up with such an

influence in the radio industry, do you think you still

would’ve ended up in radio?

SH: It’s hard to say. I feel like it’s almost genetic

because you don’t know anything else. I had a very

good friend in high school whose dad was a funeral

director and they owned a funeral home. I would go on

a couple of “body runs” with them, as they were called.

I actually thought, “I could do this.” I was fascinated

by it and wanted to help people who were grieving. In

the conversations I had with people who had lost loved

ones, I kept thinking of what a tough time that would be

and how I hoped they had faith at that point. Funerals

often bring people to the faith that often wouldn’t

have come to it otherwise. They wonder where they’re

going. That was a way to connect my faith to another

profession. But all I’ve ever known is radio, so it was a

thought exercise more than anything.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 25


HAVING A BEER WITH | SCOTT HENNEN

GL: What is your faith?

SH: I call myself an Evangelical Catholic. I spent a lot of

my years as a Catholic thinking that just meant to go to

church on Sunday. Most of my adult years were just about

going to mass. My grandparents were devout Catholics.

My dad converted before he married my mom. My mom

was a very devout Catholic and a strong pro-lifer, so that

was really instilled in me, but honestly, it isn’t as though

we talked about Jesus a lot at home. I’ve since come to

have my faith grow and come to understand that no

matter if I’m Catholic or Protestant, it has to be more than

going to church. It has to be more than just being a good

person. It has to be about having a personal relationship

with Jesus Christ. And the more I’ve learned that the more

I’ve blossomed in the faith. I love the Catholic faith a lot

because it’s so rich. The first university was Catholic, and

healthcare — so much has come from the Catholic faith.

GL: What do you think is one thing people prioritize

too much these days?

SH: When I grew up, I’ll never forget my mom and dad

looking at a house that had two garage stalls when we

were going to move into a new house in Montevideo. That

26 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

made me think, “We’re the Brady Bunch! We’re like that

house on TV!” Now it’s not uncommon to see four-car

garages. Honestly, I have nothing against people having

things. I have a three-stall garage at home full of junk,

so I’m not perfect in any stretch, but we're going down a

dangerous path as a culture, valuing stuff more than we

value what we can take with us, and it's none of this; it's

not a lake home or a nicer truck.

GL: If you were to turn into any celebrity for a day,

whose life would you want to live for 24 hours?

SH: I love Johnny Carson because he was such a great

interviewer. He was funny but you really learned

something about the person he was interviewing.

He had great interviewing skills. As a talk show host

and an interviewer, you know where you want the

interview to go, so you kind of push it that way, rather

than just letting it happen and ask a lot of questions.

My dad always said to just listen intently and don’t

worry about what you’re going to ask next, just listen

to them because in their answer you’ll get your next

question.

GL: Well, I’m not doing that very well.

SH: You can’t! You have to go to the next topic.


GL: If you could start a secret society, what

would it be about?

SH: Jesus.

GL: Would you want it to be secret, though?

SH: Well, you don’t want Jesus to be a secret,

but I think there are a lot of people that are

good people that really think they have all the

elements they need. “I go to church. I don’t steal

from anybody. I’m a good person.” But I’d love to

tell people that just being a good person doesn’t

mean they’re going to Heaven. You’re saved by

grace from God alone, and you get that from a

personal relationship with him. I'd say, “This is

the most important meeting you’ll have of the

entire week.” I'd want to get people to come who

wouldn’t if they knew it was about Jesus. By the

way, I love talking to people about it. What I don’t

like doing is forcing it on people. If it creeps you

out or you think I’m shoving it down your throat, I

get it. That’s fine. I would just love to have a nonthreatening

conversation about it without any

judgment.

GL: What does living “the good life” mean

to you?

SH: I think everyone has to find their own good

life, but for me the good life is not far from what

I have. The time with family, the time building a

company with a great partner and the chance

I get to talk on the radio every day — that’s the

good life. You always want more time for more of

the things you love, so more time to do all of that

would make the good life even better. I love the

life I have. I really do. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 27


28 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Holiday

Giving

Urban Toad Media and The Good

Life Men’s Magazine would like to

wish our readers and contributors a

happy and healthy holiday season.

Please consider donating to one of

these incredible organizations.

One less gift under your tree could

make the world of difference to

someone else.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 29


LOCAL HERO | KEVIN PALLAS

Fargo Police Sergeant Kevin Pallas

leads with inspiration, kindness and innovation.

WRITTEN BY: ALEXIS SWENSON • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

As a police officer, Sergeant Kevin Pallas is as humble as

he is good. The 56-year-old West Fargo resident has been

an officer for 23 years with the Fargo Police Department

and is presently serving in his 35th year as a North

Dakota Police Officer. Currently, he supervises the School

Resource Officer (SRO) program, Community Trust

Officer (CTO) program, Cultural Liaison Officer (CLO)

program and the Park Liaison Officer (PLO) program.

A Full Resume

Originally from Superior, Wisconsin, Sgt. Pallas still

upholds his status as a bona fide Cheesehead proudly

supporting the Green Bay Packers. Upon graduating

from Superior Senior High School, he attended the

Law Enforcement Academy in Hibbing, Minnesota from

1983-85, along with attending the Community College

in Hibbing as well. He received his first law enforcement

position as an officer in Bowman, ND in 1985.

“Being so young, the instructors always said, ‘Go where

you get hired first and get some experience.’ That ended

up turning into Bowman, ND. The southwestern town was

smaller - about 2,500 people, so that was helpful. It was

a busy little city just coming out of the first oil boom in

the mid-80s with a lot of travelers coming through for the

Black Hills,” said Sgt. Pallas.

The following year in 1986, he became

an officer in Wahpeton, ND through late

1996. He enjoyed his years in Wahpeton as

a patrol officer and was able to be the

first school liaison officer to the schools

while developing a crime prevention

program in the city as well and in January of

1997, he joined the Fargo Police Department

as an officer.

30 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


LOCAL HERO

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 31


LOCAL HERO | KEVIN PALLAS

Sgt. Pallas was initially drawn to Fargo because, “We

have so many different divisions. I knew that a larger

department is going to give a person more opportunities

to experience and challenge oneself. The more you

can do and experience, it’s fulfilling, and it gives you a

purpose.”

Sgt. Pallas was promoted to Sergeant in March of 2001

and has since served in several different positions

including in the roles of Defensive Tactics Instructor,

Police Training Officer, Training Sergeant, and the

Negotiator Team Leader for the Red River Valley SWAT

team.

“Being in a larger, progressive department that really

is looking forward as our administrators do, there are

so many opportunities to be able to go into. We’re very

fortunate that we have support with our administration

as well as our city commission going forward with

having the best equipment, the best training, and the

best facilities,” said Sgt. Pallas.

Steadfast Supervising

With 12 officers currently reporting to Sgt. Pallas, he

maintains a full schedule. “I strive to keep the programs

that I oversee operating in the best way possible by

allowing new things to come into play, always looking

forward and not just settling on what we’ve done to

date,” said Sgt. Pallas.

Some of the projects that Sgt. Pallas is grateful to have

overseen include the Unity and the It’s Time music

videos, Fargo United, summer youth camp, an outdoor

activity summer program, and a collaborative school

assemblies initiative created with the CTO team.

With the CLO program, most recently, CLO

Vince Kempf and CTO David Carlson started a

New American swimming program. Through

the support of Sammons Financial,

the pair partnered with Concordia

College and Family Wellness Center

to offer swimming lessons for New

American children to help them

build confidence in the water.

The program was developed by

both officers after two tragic

drowning accidents during the summer of 2018 in the

FM area involving New American children.

At 18 years old, the SRO program serves as a resource

for the schools, to build relationships with the students

and do enforcement action when necessary. There

is an officer in each middle school and high school.

32 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Ultimately, the program acts as a liaison between the

police department and the school district. Contrastingly,

the PLO program is fairly new at just over a year old.

PLO Josh Marvig works to make a connection with

the parks, to be visible in the parks, and during park

engagements with the community.

Sgt. Pallas cites the most motivating part of his work

as the officers he supervises and works with daily.

“I’ve been a supervisor for 18 years out of my 23 years

here and working with officers that do everything

that they possibly can to provide the best service is

extremely inspiring. They always come up with great,

positive ideas. That’s what’s so inspiring about working

with officers who have vision, energy, excitement, and

youth, I might add. It’s fantastic seeing some of these

guys that are in their 20s and 30s have that energy

and motivation to make Fargo a better place,” said Sgt.

Pallas.

Coping With The Job

Working in law enforcement for 34 years does not come

without its challenges. As such, Sgt. Pallas has been

exposed to several difficult situations and experiences.

“Having somebody in my life

over the course of my career

who has been with me right

from the very start of the

academy – she’s been my

rock.” – Kevin Pallas

PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: KEVIN PALLAS

“We see the darker side of things. Especially when it

comes to people hurting each other, people passing

sooner than they obviously should due to violence or

automobile accidents. Anything like that is always

tough to see. Abuse and domestic violence, of course,

are always difficult to be a part of too,” said Sgt. Pallas.

Resources available to Fargo police officers include

the Employee Assistance Program through the

Village available for communication needs and the

Peer Assistant Crisis Team which is comprised of

nearly a dozen officers available to be confided in and

for conversation when needed. Talking with those

resources, along with family, has proven extremely

helpful for Sgt. Pallas in working through some of the

tougher situations he’s been exposed to.

“I’m very fortunate; I’ve been married to the same girl,

my high school sweetheart, for my whole career. Kris

and I dated in high school and we got married a year

after graduation. Having somebody in my life over the

course of my career who has been with me right from

the very start of the academy - she’s been my rock. My

colleagues have been supportive as well. We’re very

close in law enforcement so to be able to talk through

things is important.

So, over the years to have that connection with my

wife and to be able to communicate with her has been

huge. I’m not necessarily sharing all the details, but I

am able to communicate generalities of some of the

darker things, and, of course, all the great things too,”

said Sgt. Pallas.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 33


LOCAL HERO | KEVIN PALLAS

Beyond Policing

Aside from the support, affirmation, and companionship

from Kris, Sgt. Pallas has also benefited in receiving free

haircuts. “Kris has been a stylist for over 25 years - she

does a fantastic job. I haven’t paid for a haircut in 27

years,” said Sgt. Pallas.

Celebrating 38 years together, the couple enjoys simply

spending quality time together.

“In the summer months we enjoy being out and about.

We bought a Camaro convertible a few years back and

treated ourselves for our 50th birthdays. We do some light

travel to Lake Superior and the countryside of Northern

Wisconsin to visit family and enjoy the lake.”

“We’ve been to well over 100 concerts since we’ve been

together. We enjoy live music from different genres. My

wife is a fantastic cook and baker. So, we like to experience

different foods and restaurants,” said Sgt. Pallas.

Heart First

Although Sgt. Pallas’s track record is undoubtedly

impressive, what truly stands out the most about him is

his heart. In every role that Sgt. Pallas has held, he has

sought to lead with his whole heart while striving to do

his best each day on the job. Simply put, he’s the kind of

34 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

“I couldn’t have asked for a

better career and being part

of a such a large picture of what

it’s all about. It’s about community

service and knowing that you have

made a difference in people’s lives,

along with getting to know people and

making connections. That’s priceless.”

– Kevin Pallas


police officer that any citizen would want to look out for

them.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better career and being part

of such a large picture of what it’s all about. It’s about

community service and knowing that you have made a

difference in people’s lives, along with getting to know

people and making connections. That’s priceless,” said

Sgt. Pallas.

In reflecting on his storied career, Sgt. Pallas highlighted

about the importance of developing close relationships

with family, friends, and people of the same mindset.

“In law enforcement, fire services and first responders in

general, because of the nature of the work, we just have

a different kind of closeness because we experience so

many things that are very sensitive. I won’t say that we

have a better kind of closeness because everybody in

their professions have their closeness. However, having

that relationship builds that - that good life of connecting

under a common purpose.

To me, the good life is knowing at the end of the day that

the work that you do means something at the end of a

career. It’s a “well done” and knowing that everything

that one would do has meaning when a career comes to

an end,” said Sgt. Pallas. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 35

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