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The Good Life – January-February 2022

On the cover – Robert "Thumper" Gregor. In the magazine – Local Hero and Veteran, Steven Sylvester, Clock Repair, Dating as a Single Dad and more!

On the cover – Robert "Thumper" Gregor. In the magazine – Local Hero and Veteran, Steven Sylvester, Clock Repair, Dating as a Single Dad and more!

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DAD LIFE<br />

Dating as a Single Dad<br />

WRITTEN BY: PAUL HANKEL<br />

Some completely off-the-cuff and<br />

non-professional advice from<br />

someone who hates getting advice.<br />

I want to start this column like I do<br />

with so many of my other columns by<br />

saying that I am in no way a licensed<br />

relationship counselor or therapist. I<br />

have no formal training in matters of<br />

the heart. I'm just a guy that gets paid<br />

to create stimulating content and<br />

musings on today's male experience.<br />

My only expertise on the subject of<br />

dating while being a single dad is the<br />

fact that I've lived it and have a tenyear-old.<br />

That being said, to say that my dating<br />

experiences have been adventurous<br />

would be a huge understatement.<br />

Dating can be fun, hilarious, awful,<br />

soul-crushing, exciting and the<br />

worst or best thing you've ever been<br />

a part of. It all depends on how you<br />

approach it. Below is part one of<br />

some tips that I've learned through<br />

my own personal experiences.<br />

Get over yourself.<br />

Timing is everything. <strong>The</strong> timing on<br />

when you re-enter the dating pool<br />

following a relationship ending is<br />

crucial.<br />

If you rush it, you'll end up projecting<br />

your past relationship traumas onto<br />

your new partner.<br />

If you do want another relationship<br />

and yet allow yourself to adjust to<br />

single life for too long, you may find<br />

yourself jaded towards relationships<br />

in general and end up alone for the<br />

wrong reasons.<br />

<strong>The</strong> quickest way to rebound, in my<br />

non-professional opinion, is to sort<br />

yourself out first.<br />

It starts with the realization that the<br />

failure of the relationship wasn't all<br />

her fault and that it's *GASP* quite<br />

possible that you were partially to<br />

blame too.<br />

You're not perfect.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is nothing more unmanly<br />

than a guy that constantly bashes<br />

his ex. Sure, vent your feelings and<br />

express your frustrations. But there<br />

comes a point where you need to<br />

sort out those feelings, learn from<br />

the mistakes in the relationship, and<br />

develop healthy coping mechanisms<br />

for dealing with those feelings of<br />

loss, hurt, and anger so that it doesn't<br />

affect your next relationship.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is nothing more sad than a<br />

relationship that is doomed from the<br />

start because both people bring their<br />

past relationship baggage to this new<br />

one. I speak from experience.<br />

Take the time that is needed to<br />

ensure that the person you want to<br />

present to potential suitors is the<br />

very best version of yourself.<br />

Temper your expectations regarding<br />

dating apps.<br />

Happiness is just a swipe<br />

away! ... or at least that's the<br />

promise. Dating applications<br />

such as Bumble, Tinder,<br />

and Farmer's Only<br />

have reduced<br />

the act of mate<br />

selections to<br />

swiping left<br />

or right. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

are sold as the<br />

perfect dating<br />

tool for busy<br />

people or people<br />

with children who<br />

don't have time for<br />

normal dating.<br />

Gone are the<br />

days of having<br />

to go on three<br />

or four dates in<br />

order to see if you're compatible with<br />

the person sitting across from you.<br />

Now you can easily scroll, see their<br />

three to five best air-brushed photos,<br />

a state line of characteristics, their<br />

favorite quote, a list of things they're<br />

looking for, and (for some reason)<br />

what their favorite song is.<br />

It is a somewhat shallow but efficient<br />

way to select a potential partner.<br />

As an aside: Dudes, we have got to<br />

stop using dead fish in our profile<br />

pictures. I have been told and can<br />

assure you that exactly zero women<br />

are turned on by a picture of you<br />

holding or standing over a dead<br />

animal.<br />

"My Kids are my World!”<br />

You know you've seen it. It's the<br />

cliché phrase plastered across<br />

many women's dating and social<br />

profiles. It's meant, I think, to show<br />

that they are responsible, don't<br />

have time for "games," and that<br />

having and maintaining a family is<br />

their number one priority. In reality<br />

though, it's a red flag<br />

for me that denotes<br />

the fact that, no<br />

matter what<br />

2 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


happens, whoever dates them will always be second fiddle<br />

to her children.<br />

OBVIOUSLY, your kids are your priority and take up the<br />

bulk of your non-work hours.<br />

OF COURSE, they are one of the most important things<br />

in your life. What parent doesn't feel this way?<br />

This moniker that's meant to let everyone know you're<br />

a "good mom," has two unintended consequences in<br />

my humble opinion: It denotes that there may be some<br />

underlying issues in your previous relationships or with<br />

your children's father.<br />

It denotes the fact that you feel like you need to, for<br />

whatever reason, let potential dating partners know that<br />

you're a good mom….when that should be a given.<br />

Children are meant to be a compliment to your adult life<br />

and, in most cases, relationship. Call me old school but I<br />

believe that your partner comes first and that the stable<br />

relationship between two adults in a relationship should<br />

serve as a bedrock for a family unit.<br />

Yes, we as parents get swept up in the business of<br />

parenting (my kid had five hockey games last weekend).<br />

However, for a relationship to work, you must prioritize<br />

your partner and your relationship.<br />

So, why would you want to potentially scare off dating<br />

partners by leading with, "You'll only ever be my number<br />

two priority?”<br />

Are date nights going to get canceled because a kiddo got<br />

sick? Yes. Are children going to take precedent sometimes?<br />

Absolutely. However, to have that be the realization and<br />

starting factor for a relationship right off the bat seems<br />

disingenuous to me.<br />

It all reverts back to that timing thing we have already<br />

covered. We make time and prioritize the things that we<br />

want to in life.<br />

If you want a relationship to work with a new partner, then<br />

you need to prioritize your partner and put in as much<br />

effort with them as you do with your children. It's that<br />

simple.<br />

I hope these musings can help shed a little bit of light on<br />

the dating landscape for those who are just getting into it.<br />

Casually dating is easy. Meaningful dating is hard work.<br />

Cheers! ♥︎<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 3


VOLUME 9 | ISSUE 4<br />

JANUARY-FEBRUARY <strong>2022</strong><br />

CONTENTS<br />

18<br />

10 30<br />

18<br />

ON THE COVER<br />

ROBERT "THUMPER" GREGOR<br />

A MAN OF MANY HATS<br />

Incorporating his love for motorcycles<br />

and his desire to help others, Robert<br />

“Thumper” Gregor is known for<br />

finding creative ways to help the F-M<br />

community and surrounding area.<br />

2<br />

6<br />

10<br />

14<br />

24<br />

28<br />

30<br />

DAD LIFE<br />

DATING AS A SINGLE DAD<br />

Some completely off-the-cuff and nonprofessional<br />

advice from someone who<br />

hates getting advice.<br />

TREV'S BARBERSHOP<br />

Trev’s Barbershop is more than a<br />

barbershop; it is a place for the<br />

community.<br />

HAVING A BEER WITH<br />

DEAN WYSOCKI<br />

Chief Meteorologist for AM 1100/AM 970<br />

WDAY Dean Wysocki regales <strong>The</strong> <strong>Good</strong><br />

<strong>Life</strong> with stories about his opportunity to<br />

model as a child, his regretful mustache<br />

days and more.<br />

THE CLOCKWERKS<br />

A HISTORY OF TIME<br />

Repairing clocks is like a puzzle, and<br />

sometimes you have to make the pieces.<br />

HOW TO KEEP YOUR<br />

WINDSHIELD FROM FOGGING UP<br />

To understand how to prevent your<br />

vehicle’s windshield (and windows) from<br />

fogging up, it helps to understand why<br />

they fog up in the first place.<br />

GUILTY PLEASURES<br />

From dressing like James Bond to treating<br />

their car like a newborn baby, discover<br />

guys’ most typical guilty pleasures.<br />

LOCAL HERO<br />

STEVE SYLVESTER<br />

Fargo man served his country, but the real<br />

battle started when he got home.<br />

4 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


PUBLISHED BY<br />

Urban Toad Media LLP<br />

www.urbantoadmedia.com<br />

OWNER / GRAPHIC DESIGNER<br />

Dawn Siewert<br />

dawn@urbantoadmedia.com<br />

OWNER / PHOTOGRAPHER<br />

Darren Losee<br />

darren@urbantoadmedia.com<br />

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS<br />

Meghan Feir<br />

Paul Hankel<br />

Brett & Kate McKay<br />

Krissy Ness<br />

Emma Vatnsdal<br />

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES<br />

Dawn Siewert<br />

dawn@urbantoadmedia.com<br />

READ A PAST ISSUE<br />

yumpu.com/user/thegoodlife<br />

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK<br />

facebook.com/urbantoadmedia<br />

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER<br />

@urbantoadmedia<br />

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@urbantoadmedia<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong> Men’s Magazine is distributed six times a year by<br />

Urban Toad Media LLP. Material may not be reproduced without<br />

permission. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong> Men’s Magazine accepts no liability for<br />

reader dissatisfaction arising from content in this publication. <strong>The</strong><br />

opinions expressed, or advice given, are the views of individual<br />

writers or advertisers and do not necessarily represent the views or<br />

policies of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong> Men’s Magazine.<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 5


A Place for Community<br />

WRITTEN BY: KRISSY NESS<br />

PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is nothing like the feel of a hometown<br />

barbershop. And that's what Trever Thompson was<br />

going for when he opened up his veteran-owned<br />

and operated shop, Trev's Barbershop, in West<br />

Fargo, N.D.<br />

Thompson has had a long and exciting life that has<br />

led him to where he is today. Upon graduation from<br />

high school in 1998 from Century High School in<br />

Bismarck, ND, Thompson enlisted into the North<br />

Dakota National Guard with 1st Battalion 188th<br />

Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Thompson moved<br />

to Fargo and attended NDSU, and joined Army<br />

ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps). Thompson<br />

was honorably discharged as a Sergeant from the<br />

N.D. Army National Guard in 2004, attended U.S.<br />

Army Airborne School, graduated from NDSU and<br />

was commissioned as an officer that same year.<br />

Upon graduating, Thompson went active duty with<br />

the United States Army, was stationed and served<br />

with the 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment at<br />

Fort Lewis in Washington State. His unit 5-5 ADA<br />

deployed to Iraq in March 2007 and spent 15 months<br />

6 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


PHOTO SUBMITTED BY: TREVER THOMPSON<br />

there. Thompson was honorably discharged from<br />

the U.S. Army as a Captain in October 2008.<br />

As a civilian who doesn't know much about the<br />

difference between the National Guard and the<br />

U.S. Army, it was interesting to find that they have<br />

kind of gone hand in hand for the past 10 to 20<br />

years.<br />

"After 9/11, the National Guard was used for more<br />

than just state emergencies again," said Thompson.<br />

From the U.S. Army and National Guard working<br />

together in Afghanistan and Iraq to COVID testing<br />

sites, riot control during quarantine, helping fight<br />

forest fires, they are relatively interchangeable in<br />

this day in age.<br />

It was then that he got a job with the U.S.<br />

Department of Veterans Affairs in Fargo and<br />

worked there for six years, loving every minute<br />

of it. However, after some time, Thompson found<br />

himself wanting to do something different.<br />

downtown Fargo for five years,"<br />

said Thompson.<br />

Fast forward to 2020, and<br />

quarantine has set in. Everett's<br />

was forced to close their<br />

doors for months to comply<br />

with mandatory shutdown<br />

orders. Due to COVID and its<br />

ramifications, he had the time<br />

to look for a place to open up<br />

shop. Usually, that would not<br />

be the case due to work and life.<br />

"That pushed me into this whole<br />

thing," said Thompson. "I thought I was going to<br />

own a shop someday; I just didn't think it would be<br />

so soon."<br />

"I went to barber school in 2014, and then<br />

from there, I worked at Everett's Barbershop in<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 7


Not only was Thompson looking for a place where<br />

he could make and design this business to his exact<br />

likings, but he also wanted a place where veterans<br />

and civilians could call their own. "I still wanted to do<br />

something that involved veterans and being a barber,<br />

there would be veterans coming in," said Thompson.<br />

"Man, you know it is crazy the bond you share, even<br />

those who were in Vietnam."<br />

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY: TREVER THOMPSON<br />

I can only imagine how difficult it is to readjust to<br />

the civilian world again, whether it was yesterday or<br />

50 years ago, so to have a place where you can go<br />

and find comfort with those around you is a special<br />

connection.<br />

"When you meet a vet, it is like an unspoken bond,"<br />

said Thompson. "It's kind of cool."<br />

Trev's Barbershop isn't just for veterans; this is a place<br />

for everyone in the community. A place where you can<br />

get a great haircut, touch up your beard, and enjoy the<br />

company Trev's Barbershop has to offer. "That's my<br />

goal, to own a little barbershop where everyone has<br />

8 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


PHOTO SUBMITTED BY:<br />

TREVER THOMPSON<br />

a place to go," said Thompson.<br />

Furthermore, many women have<br />

come in to get their shortcuts<br />

from Trev's Barbershop. You<br />

need someone trained to do it,<br />

and do it right with a specific<br />

hairstyle. You would be hardpressed<br />

to find someone with<br />

luscious locks come into the<br />

shop looking for layers, bangs,<br />

and the whole shebang.<br />

Thompson's reputation has<br />

proven him well. In addition to<br />

himself, he has one other barber<br />

working with him, and they are<br />

busy all day every day.<br />

It is pretty remarkable to have<br />

started up a business during<br />

quarantine and see it flourish<br />

as well as Thompson's in just a<br />

year.<br />

"Having the freedom and ability<br />

to go to a job every day that I<br />

truly enjoy, providing a service<br />

to the community for those that<br />

may want it, and to go home at<br />

the end of the day, to my wife<br />

that keeps it real and balanced,<br />

is what the good life means to<br />

me," said Thompson. ✂<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 9


HAVING A BEER WITH | DEAN WYSOCKI<br />

WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR<br />

PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA<br />

Since the age of 5, Dean Wysocki knew he wanted to be<br />

a weatherman. He’d stare up into the clouds awestruck<br />

knowing exactly what he wanted his professional career<br />

to be when he was older.<br />

He’s never regretted the decision and has worked as a<br />

TV meteorologist in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa,<br />

Texas and Arizona. His most recent gig started a year<br />

ago in North Dakota as chief meteorologist for AM 1100/<br />

AM 970 WDAY Radio. Although he moved from Phoenix,<br />

he’s loved living in Fargo-Moorhead because of the great<br />

people he’s encountered.<br />

I had the opportunity to talk with the Chicago native at<br />

Drekker Brewing Company about his love of the Chicago<br />

Cubs, deep-dish pizza, and how he’s the spitting image of<br />

his gregarious father. Read on to learn more about Dean<br />

Wysocki.<br />

<strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong>: What’s one trend you’ve followed that you’re<br />

kind of embarrassed about?<br />

Dean Wysocki: It would be back in the ’80s and ’90s.<br />

During high school I had hair down to my shoulders. I<br />

look back on it now and I’m like, “No wonder I couldn’t<br />

get a date.” It makes a lot of sense now. <strong>The</strong>n in the ’90s<br />

when I got my first job in TV, I had a full head of hair—<br />

loved those days—but I had this horrible-looking Tom<br />

Selleck porn-star mustache. We have a picture of it as a<br />

screensaver at work. I’ll never forget my news director at<br />

the time told me, “Dude, you’ve got to shave that off,” and<br />

I said, “Like h*** I will. <strong>The</strong>re’s no way.” I met this one gal<br />

and she said I should probably shave that mustache off. I<br />

was like, “Are you kidding me?” but I did.<br />

GL: What’s something distinct about you?<br />

DW: My personality. I’m a people person. If you can’t get<br />

along with me, then something’s wrong with you because<br />

I get along with most people I meet. I love making<br />

people laugh. I’m the spitting image of my dad. He was<br />

a schmoozer, talker, super nice guy, the life of the party,<br />

and everybody loved him. Everybody’s like, “Man, you’re<br />

just like him.”<br />

GL: What’s one of your New Year’s resolutions?<br />

DW: Not to make a New Year’s resolution. Probably to<br />

listen to myself, though. A lot of times I trust people<br />

too much, so I need to listen to myself and get in better<br />

shape, which is everybody’s resolution every year.<br />

GL: Have you ever actually followed through with a<br />

resolution?<br />

10 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


DW: Yeah, to work out more—for a couple of months.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n it falls to the wayside.<br />

GL: If you could have a theme song playing every<br />

time you walk into a room—<br />

DW: “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by Scorpions.<br />

GL: Holy cow. You didn’t even have to think.<br />

DW: Probably because I’ve met the band three times<br />

backstage.<br />

“Back when I was 6 or 7 years old<br />

they’d call me Danny because I<br />

looked just like Danny Bonaduce.” <strong>–</strong> <strong>–</strong><br />

<strong>–</strong> Dean Wysocki<br />

GL: What’s a little-known fact about you?<br />

DW: I used to be a stripper.<br />

GL: …<br />

DW: No, I’m kidding.<br />

GL: I was like, “I think he’s kidding, but…”<br />

DW: Hmm. A little-known fact about me is that not many<br />

people know what my nickname was growing up. Back when<br />

I was 6 or 7 years old they’d call me Danny because I looked<br />

just like Danny Bonaduce. My mom told me a few years after<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 11


HAVING A BEER WITH | DEAN WYSOCKI<br />

my dad had died that when I was 5 years old, Gerber or some<br />

modeling agency wanted to do photoshoots with me for a<br />

magazine—probably because I looked like Danny Bonaduce. I<br />

had red hair and freckles.<br />

GL: You had red hair? What happened?<br />

DW: Yeah, like bright red hair. It got dark. If I grow a beard,<br />

it’ll come in red. My dad told my mom that the modeling would<br />

pay for my college and beyond and that I’d be set. My mom was<br />

like, “No, there’s no way we’re taking him out of school. His<br />

education comes first.”<br />

GL: What’s your favorite kind of food?<br />

DW: Chicago deep-dish pizza—either Giordano’s’ or Pizzeria<br />

UNO. Both are fantastic places. I love Italian food. I also love<br />

lasagna. Nothing beats a great lasagna. I love them both.<br />

GL: Who’s the most annoying celebrity?<br />

DW: Oh, all of them, but either the cackling hens on <strong>The</strong> View<br />

or the Kardashians. <strong>The</strong>y’re like nails on a chalkboard.<br />

GL: Very good choices.<br />

GL: Who’s your favorite person in history, family members<br />

aside?<br />

DW: We’re going to go religious here. Either Jesus Christ or<br />

Pope John Paul II. That’s who we grew up with, and I remember<br />

thinking, “<strong>The</strong> pope goes skiing?”<br />

GL: Yeah, Jesus is my favorite person in history, too. You can’t<br />

top him.<br />

12 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


GL: What does living the good life<br />

mean to you?<br />

DW: Being happy. Whether that<br />

means being single or married,<br />

just be happy because life is<br />

short. Laugh, have fun, smile and<br />

make other people smile, go on<br />

adventures, and travel because<br />

you’re only here once—that we<br />

know of. <strong>The</strong>re’s so much bad,<br />

but there’s more good than bad.<br />

Gravitate toward the good and be<br />

good to people. After you’re 30,<br />

it flies. And find a job that you<br />

love. <strong>The</strong>re’s nothing worse than<br />

dreading going to work every<br />

morning. Find something you love<br />

to do. I’m lucky enough to have<br />

found my passion. •<br />

“Laugh, have fun,<br />

smile and make<br />

other people smile,<br />

go on adventures,<br />

and travel because<br />

you’re only here once—<br />

that we know of.”<br />

PHOTO BY: MARK BJORNSTAD<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 13


<strong>The</strong>re is something special about<br />

antique or vintage technology,<br />

especially clocks. <strong>The</strong>y come in<br />

all shapes and sizes, and they all have<br />

their particular moments. That's where<br />

experienced repairmen or women come in.<br />

David Schutz has worked on and off with clocks for the<br />

past 15 years, but he has been working on them full time<br />

for 11 years.<br />

Originally, Schutz's father purchased, <strong>The</strong> Clockwerks in<br />

2006. "My dad wanted to buy the lamp shop, and when<br />

he went to do it, he found out a long-time employee had<br />

bought it out, and he was super bummed," said Schutz.<br />

"But there was the clock shop in the back that she didn't<br />

want, and he thought how hard can clock repair be?"<br />

From there, his father flew out to the east coast and took<br />

a course in clock repair work, "it was a one-week crash<br />

course on how not to hurt yourself when taking a clock<br />

apart, which isn't much," laughed Schutz. "But he came<br />

back and ran a business."<br />

<strong>The</strong> man he stayed with during his training was the thenowner<br />

of the Herschede Clock Company, and when he<br />

came to visit Schutz's father, he was shocked to find that<br />

14 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


WRITTEN BY: KRISSY NESS<br />

PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA<br />

When the part for specific clocks is no longer<br />

in production, he has the knowledge and patience to<br />

create the piece himself, right in his workspace.<br />

his business was still up and running with the brief amount of training he had.<br />

Schutz worked alongside his father to become an electrician while learning how<br />

to carefully take apart clocks and put them back together in working order. He<br />

would repair, oil, or make parts for specific clocks in which you can no longer<br />

order parts.<br />

I found that so fascinating that when the part for specific clocks is no longer in<br />

production, he has the knowledge and patience to create the piece himself, right<br />

in his workspace.<br />

When Schutz graduated, he quit working at <strong>The</strong> Clockwerks and got a job in<br />

electrical work. His dad hired a guy who could barely operate a screwdriver<br />

but was very good with the customers, so he took over as the customer service<br />

representative.<br />

After being laid off in 2008, Schutz jumped in to help his dad because he had<br />

been falling farther and farther behind. By 2010 he was doing most of the<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 15


mechanical repair, while his dad was<br />

managing the business and going out to<br />

customers' houses to do repair work on their<br />

grandfather clocks, whether that be oiling them or<br />

bringing them back so Schutz could fix them.<br />

By 2014 Schutz gave his dad a choice because he needed to<br />

make more money to support his family. However, his dad was<br />

uninterested in hiring or firing anyone at that point. "I told him I<br />

was going to have to quit or jokingly said I might have to buy the<br />

place," said Schutz. "He said if I could get the money together,<br />

I could have it."<br />

So precisely ten years after his father bought <strong>The</strong> Clockwerks,<br />

Schutz took over the store. He had run the store for the past six<br />

years, until 2020, when he hired his wife to help, working as<br />

fast as possible to get clocks out the door.<br />

Being one of the only clock repair shops in town, you can<br />

imagine how much work they receive; Schutz has work that<br />

will last him for years to come. But unfortunately, clock repair<br />

isn't something that can be done overnight, they are like giant<br />

puzzles, and sometimes you have to make your own pieces.<br />

Sitting in his workspace, I was amazed by how many different<br />

clocks were on display. While listening back to my recording of<br />

our conversation, cuckoo clocks were chirping, chimed were<br />

striking, and bells were ringing from dozens of different clocks.<br />

16 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


I asked Schutz if he is ever distracted by<br />

the many clocks sounding off on the hour<br />

every hour. "I am actually trying to pay<br />

attention to when the noises happen, so<br />

if they are sounding too early, I can fix that<br />

before I return them to their owners," said<br />

Schutz.<br />

This job somewhat fell into Schutz's lap, but he<br />

seems to enjoy the challenge of fixing clocks. "I like<br />

that the job changes day-to-day, I mean, they are all<br />

the same, but they are all different," said Schutz.<br />

"<strong>The</strong>re is not a manufacturing monotony to it."<br />

If you love your job, you never work is what the good<br />

life means to Schutz. •<br />

"I hope to keep doing this kind of work<br />

until I fall over dead or until they haul<br />

me out of here telling me I can't do it<br />

anymore." <strong>–</strong> David Schutz<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 17


ON THE COVER | ROBERT GREGOR<br />

a man of many hats<br />

WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA<br />

As a little boy, Robert “Thumper” Gregor would<br />

often hear people spilling the latest news,<br />

gossip and life updates in his Moorhead house.<br />

A hairdresser, his mother doubled as a stand-in<br />

counselor as soon as clients entered the doors<br />

of her home business. She was also a bit of a<br />

philanthropist.<br />

With all her connections and the needs of their<br />

Fargo-Moorhead community surrounding them,<br />

she was often donating her services and help for<br />

benefits and causes.<br />

After years of witnessing his mom in action,<br />

helping others became second nature to Gregor.<br />

Choosing a new direction<br />

Growing up in Moorhead, Gregor had a lot of<br />

neighborhood friends. As a foreshadowing of<br />

things to come, they started their own bicycle<br />

club.<br />

“We were called the Midnight Riders,” Gregor<br />

said. “We took bicycles and added another fork<br />

to it to make a chopper. We thought we were the<br />

coolest bunch of guys around, but we all were<br />

probably dorks.”<br />

From a young age, Gregor was involved in Cub<br />

Scouts and Eagle Scouts, but by the time he was<br />

old enough to join Boy Scouts, the partying<br />

scene had already captured his attention.<br />

“I started drinking by the age of 13. My mom<br />

and dad were both partiers, and I got to play<br />

cards and dice with them and sneak beer here<br />

and there,” Gregor said. Eventually, Gregor<br />

18 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


joined the Army National Guard<br />

when he was 18 and became a fullblown<br />

alcoholic.<br />

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY:<br />

ROBERT GREGOR<br />

“I tried to be the life of the party,”<br />

Gregor said.<br />

One evening when he was home,<br />

Gregor and his dad got into a big<br />

argument. He left the house, stopped<br />

to get some Mountain Dew and a<br />

pack of smokes, and drove to find a<br />

place to park in his van. A few hours<br />

later, a Cass County deputy sheriff<br />

got a call to check out a suspicious<br />

vehicle.<br />

“He actually came and talked to me<br />

four times, just to make sure I wasn’t<br />

doing something stupid,” Gregor<br />

said. “Before he left, he gave me his<br />

card and I went to talk to him a few<br />

times over the next year.”<br />

That was one of the catalysts for<br />

Gregor to make a drastic life change.<br />

“My biggest success story was when<br />

I quit drinking at 21. That was one<br />

of my mom’s proudest moments,”<br />

Gregor said. “When I first quit<br />

drinking I lost a lot of my friends,<br />

but I’m a firm believer that if I hadn’t<br />

quit drinking, I wouldn’t have gotten<br />

married, and I wouldn’t have gotten<br />

a good job. I probably would have<br />

ended up in jail.”<br />

“MY BIGGEST SUCCESS STORY WAS WHEN I QUIT DRINKING AT<br />

21. THAT WAS ONE OF MY MOM’S PROUDEST MOMENTS.”<br />

Finding a new community<br />

For over 20 years, Gregor has worked as a sanitation engineer for the<br />

City of Fargo Garbage Department. He enjoys his job and loves knowing<br />

he’s helping the community, but his real passion intertwines his love for<br />

motorcycles and philanthropy.<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 19


ON THE COVER | ROBERT GREGOR<br />

Motorcycles of all types have always been of immense interest to<br />

Gregor.<br />

“It’s just been a passion of mine for years. My first road bike was a<br />

Kawasaki 440. Everybody was like, ‘You’re riding that?’ because of<br />

how big I am, but I rode what I could afford back then,” Gregor said.<br />

“I’ve always ridden motorcycles, but in 1989 I joined a motorcycle<br />

club in town, and in ‘91 I quit there and went to the FM Crusaders<br />

M.C. I enjoy the club so much.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> FM Crusaders Motorcycle Club, of which Gregor is currently<br />

president, has 14 active members, but they’ve cumulatively had<br />

hundreds of members since its inception in 1967.<br />

It was at an FM Crusaders M.C. event where Gregor was given his<br />

nickname, “Thumper.” He even sports a rabbit tattoo on his right<br />

arm.<br />

“When they first came out with the high-top tennis shoes, they had<br />

the big tongues,” Gregor said. “We had a party, and when I walked<br />

in it looked like I had rabbit feet, so the president at the time said my<br />

new nickname was Thumper.”<br />

Besides the camaraderie and leisure rides involved in motorcycle<br />

clubs, several times a year, many groups will take part in charity<br />

runs, raising money for organizations and benefits. <strong>The</strong> typical<br />

charity ride is 100 to 150 miles long and involves several stops<br />

along the way.<br />

20 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


“I remember when we could count how many charity<br />

runs there were in a year on one hand. Now there’s a<br />

calendar this long that has a lot of runs on it,” Gregor<br />

said.<br />

“A lot of people don’t understand how much motorcycle<br />

riders make for charity rides. If we didn’t have rides,<br />

if we didn’t have people showing up and donating, we<br />

wouldn’t raise anything. Just for CCRI, we’ve raised<br />

over 100,000 dollars. <strong>The</strong> 61 for 61 for Roger Maris<br />

raised over 100,000 dollars. <strong>The</strong>re are so many good<br />

charity runs out there.”<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 21


ON THE COVER | ROBERT GREGOR<br />

Over the years, Gregor has helped plan countless<br />

benefits, motorcycle runs and more, mixing his passion<br />

for helping others and riding motorcycles by being<br />

a member of the FM Crusaders M.C. He and his club<br />

members have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars<br />

for organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club, the<br />

Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center, the American<br />

Legion, and, most recently, CCRI, which has been one<br />

of the most rewarding groups to work with for Gregor.<br />

“WITH SOME OF THE GROUPS<br />

WE’VE HELPED, THEY JUST WANT US<br />

TO RAISE THE MONEY, BUT WHEN<br />

WE GOT TOGETHER WITH CCRI,<br />

WE BECAME A FAMILY.”<br />

“With some of the groups we’ve helped, they just want<br />

us to raise the money, but when we got together with<br />

CCRI, we became a family,” Gregor said. “<strong>The</strong>y help us<br />

just as much as we help them. We even took them to<br />

play pool, but they prefer bowling. You watch some of<br />

those clients bowl and they’re good at it.”<br />

With his passion for helping others, it’s been hard to say<br />

no to taking on new endeavors and being a part of new<br />

groups. At one point, he belonged to six organizations.<br />

“I finally had to back off,” Gregor said. For 11 years,<br />

he was even a Sabin Lions Club member, and for 6<br />

of those, he was the president. “I don’t even live in<br />

Sabin. I live in Moorhead. But the FM Crusaders M.C.<br />

is based in Sabin, so I got to know a lot of the Lions,<br />

the fire department and the town.”<br />

Honoring the vets<br />

Although Gregor served in the Army National Guard<br />

for 6 years, he personally doesn’t consider himself<br />

a veteran because he didn’t see action or get sent<br />

overseas. His respect for veterans is immense.<br />

Because of that admiration, Gregor has been able to<br />

not only help organizations that help veterans through<br />

motorcycle rides but also through helping with the<br />

Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN.<br />

“I was just going to help by doing a ride for them to<br />

raise money, but the passion of the board members<br />

was so impressive and they were so tight,” Gregor<br />

said. “<strong>The</strong>y asked me to go on a flight, so I got to go to<br />

Washington, D.C. <strong>The</strong>y had an opening on the board of<br />

directors and I got nominated to be a board director.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> all-expenses-paid, two-day excursion is jampacked<br />

with activities and includes the assurance that<br />

health won’t hold them back from experiencing the<br />

incredibly meaningful moments planned for their trip.<br />

“We take 70 wheelchairs with us. We take four doctors,<br />

nurses, and respiratory therapists. A lot of guys will<br />

say they’re not healthy enough, but they’re covered,”<br />

Gregor said. “<strong>The</strong> first time I got there, I knew they had<br />

a welcoming group but I didn’t realize how big it was.<br />

When I was pushing a vet in a wheelchair, he said, ‘You<br />

22 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


didn’t tell me about this.’ <strong>The</strong>re were<br />

two little boys saluting him in sailor<br />

suits and he started to bawl.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> Honor Flights have been<br />

canceled over the past two years<br />

due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but<br />

Gregor is hopeful the flights will<br />

begin again in <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Living the good life<br />

Between being a part of the Veterans<br />

Honor Flight and the FM Crusaders<br />

M.C., it takes a lot of Gregor’s time.<br />

It’s no surprise that Gregor’s answer<br />

for what “living the good life” entails<br />

is helping others and finding joy in<br />

their presence.<br />

“I like riding my motorcycle, spending<br />

my time at gatherings, and being able<br />

to have conversations with people,”<br />

Gregor said. “<strong>The</strong> good life to me is<br />

spending time with my family and my<br />

friends and doing what I do. I want to<br />

continue helping people.” •<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 23


24 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


You're driving down the highway and your<br />

car's windshield fogs up, so you blast the<br />

defroster. <strong>The</strong> fog goes away but then returns<br />

again a few minutes later. You repeat this<br />

process until you arrive at your destination.<br />

<strong>The</strong> same thing happens to the car's driver<br />

and passenger-side windows. <strong>The</strong> windows<br />

fog up so you can't see your rearview mirrors,<br />

so you roll the windows down and then back<br />

up to squeegee the moisture off. But then the<br />

fog simply comes back again.<br />

And on the fight against vehicular window fog,<br />

and its visibility-robbing haze, goes.<br />

Fortunately, there's a way to escape this<br />

seemingly endless cycle of fog recurrence and<br />

achieve driving nirvana. We share your exit<br />

strategy below.<br />

Why Does Your<br />

Windshield Fog Up?<br />

To understand how to prevent your vehicle's<br />

windshield (and windows) from fogging up,<br />

it helps to understand why they fog up in the<br />

first place.<br />

Fog on the inside or outside of your car<br />

windshield is condensation that forms due to<br />

a difference in temperature and humidity near<br />

the glass. <strong>The</strong> nature of this differential varies<br />

according to the season of the year.<br />

WRITTEN BY: BRETT & KATE MCKAY / ARTOFMANLINESS.COM<br />

During the winter, window fog typically<br />

occurs inside of your car. That's because the<br />

temperature and humidity on the inside of your<br />

vehicle are higher than they are outside of it.<br />

All that hot vapor from the passengers' breath<br />

condenses on the inside of the windows/<br />

windshield once it hits the cool glass.<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 25


When you experience foggy car windows in the summer,<br />

the condensation usually occurs on the outside of the<br />

car windows. That's because the temperature and<br />

humidity on the outside of your car are higher than on<br />

the inside where you've got the cold, dry A/C running.<br />

Once the hot, moist summer air hits your car's<br />

windows, condensation forms on the outside of the<br />

glass.<br />

Knowing where the condensation is forming — inside<br />

or outside — will guide how you implement your<br />

preventive anti-fog measures.<br />

How to Keep Your Windshield<br />

from Fogging Up<br />

Clean your windows. <strong>The</strong> first step in preventing<br />

automotive fog is to give your vehicle's windows and<br />

windshield a nice wipe down. Dirt and oils on the glass<br />

will attract and maintain condensation. Clean your<br />

car's windows/windshield on both sides with some<br />

window cleaner and a newspaper or paper towel.<br />

Apply an anti-fog spray. Anti-fog spray contains<br />

chemicals that prevent water from condensing on your<br />

glass.<br />

Remember, if it's winter, the fog will be forming on the<br />

inside of your windows/windshield, so make sure to<br />

get a spray that's designed for interior glass.<br />

If it's summer, you'll want to apply the anti-fog spray<br />

on the outside of the glass and you'll want to use a<br />

product designed for the exterior.<br />

Thoroughly cleaning your windows before applying<br />

anti-fog spray is a big key in their efficacy, so don't<br />

neglect the step one recommendation above.<br />

Use home anti-fog remedies. If you don't want to go<br />

to the auto supply store or have a bottle of commercial<br />

anti-fog spray Amazon Primed to you, there are some<br />

home remedies you can use to prevent fog from<br />

forming on your glass:<br />

• Shaving cream. I'm talking about the old-school<br />

Barbasol variety. Spray some on a towel and wipe on<br />

your glass. Wipe the glass clean with a clean towel.<br />

26 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


• A potato. Strangely enough, the starch and<br />

sugars in a potato can act as a fog repellent.<br />

Simply cut a potato in half and rub the exposed<br />

half on your windows/windshield. Wipe off<br />

any excess potato juice, lest you leave a white<br />

coat of starch on your glass.<br />

Turn off the recirculate button on your airconditioner/heater.<br />

You've likely seen this<br />

button on your car's console but may never<br />

have really understood what it did. When the<br />

recirculate button is engaged, your vehicle<br />

uses air from inside your vehicle for heating<br />

and cooling; it continually recirculates the<br />

same air, allowing it to be heated/cooled more<br />

effectively. When the button is off, the car<br />

heats and cools using air brought in from the<br />

outside.<br />

If condensation forms on the inside of your car<br />

during the winter, you can probably see why it<br />

would be a bad idea to recirculate this warm,<br />

moist interior air. It just perpetuates the fuel<br />

that feeds windshield fog.<br />

So make sure the recirculate button is off.<br />

Turn the heat and A/C on at the same time.<br />

When it's cold outside, you want the heat on<br />

in your car so that you're warm. But warm<br />

air causes condensation to form on your<br />

windshield. So how can you stay warm without<br />

fogging up the glass?<br />

Turn the A/C on at the same time as you crank<br />

up the heat in your car.<br />

<strong>The</strong> A/C will dry out the air. By reducing the<br />

moisture in the warm air blowing in your car,<br />

you reduce the likelihood of your windshield<br />

and windows fogging up.<br />

Just make sure your car's A/C button is on<br />

when you crank the heat up. That's all there<br />

is to it. And no, this won't damage your car's<br />

air-conditioning.<br />

When all else fails, blast the defroster to the<br />

max. If you've done all these things, and you<br />

still get some fog, you can always turn the<br />

defroster up to full blast. <strong>The</strong> warm, dry air<br />

will evaporate the moisture on the interior<br />

of your windshield, defogging your glass<br />

immediately. This is a temporary fix, though.<br />

If the humidity is still high inside your car,<br />

you'll just get a foggy windshield again. Make<br />

sure the recirculate button is off, and try recleaning<br />

your windows/re-applying anti-fog<br />

spray when you return home. •<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 27


WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR<br />

Guilty pleasures. <strong>The</strong>y’re the things you love that your<br />

neighbor might think are bizarre. <strong>The</strong>y’re the indulgences;<br />

the little things you do to pamper yourself and make your<br />

life more enjoyable, just because. <strong>The</strong>y’re the things that<br />

might make you seem a little less like the stoic man you’ve<br />

been trying so hard to portray.<br />

“Guilty pleasures” can include a ridiculously broad range<br />

of things people love doing, whether they’re considered<br />

weird or normal, embarrassing or prideful, indulgent or<br />

modest, regular or rare occurrences.<br />

I asked some of the men in and outside of my life (aka,<br />

Facebook friends you never see anymore) what their<br />

guilty pleasures are. One soul said he holds, “no shame<br />

in my love for taking candlelight baths as I make bubble<br />

beards.” A relative of mine said “listening to Chvrches”<br />

the band is something he keeps on the down-low. Another<br />

man told me his love for nicotine is a continuously burning<br />

desire, one in which he occasionally succumbs. My own<br />

father responded and rightly said he loves, “Looking at<br />

Craigslist and Marketplace every night for used cars and<br />

motorcycles, even though I’m not in the market.”<br />

Personally, I probably have thousands of little, guilty<br />

pleasures, some of which include periodically ordering<br />

too many allergen-free snacks, online shopping (and<br />

returning), owning too many blankets, wearing a dark<br />

brown wig whilst running errands (though it’s been a few<br />

years), drinking tea out of my china cup and saucer, and<br />

buying miniature versions of things.<br />

Although my own Facebook poll didn’t warrant many<br />

answers, here are some of the most common guilty<br />

pleasures for men:<br />

Drinking milk or juice out<br />

of the carton: Sicko<br />

• Getting dressed up: Wear that dapper suit and enjoy<br />

looking better than you usually do.<br />

• Binge-watching a series: What American under the age<br />

of 70 hasn’t done this one before?<br />

• Eating in bed: Almost one-fourth of Americans love<br />

doing this, but who wants to sleep in a bed of crumbs?<br />

George Costanza. That’s who.<br />

• Sleeping in: This is about the most un-embarrassing,<br />

uneventful, normal one of them all.<br />

28 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


• Drinking milk or juice out of the carton: Sicko.<br />

• Babying vehicles: I know very few men (ad women)<br />

who don’t like to personify their cars, motorcycles,<br />

snowmobiles, etc. Heck, I cried when I handed in my<br />

leased car. Give your baby a car wash and some TLC. Just<br />

remember to give your wife some TLC, too.<br />

• Playing video or computer games: You don’t have to live<br />

in a basement and be on a diet of Doritos and Mountain<br />

Dew in order to love playing video games.<br />

• Sexual guilty pleasures: I’d rather not talk about these.<br />

Whatever it may be, make sure your guilty pleasure<br />

doesn’t turn into a guilty obsession. Take video games,<br />

for example. According to Divorce Online, 15 percent<br />

of marriages cited video games as one of the causes for<br />

getting divorced.<br />

Whether it’s video games, babying your possessions, or<br />

indulging yourself a bit too often, make sure these delights<br />

aren’t taking too much of your attention away from<br />

relationships and responsibilities. You can enjoy guilty<br />

pleasures without them actually causing an elephantsized<br />

load of guilt and repercussions.<br />

While many guilty pleasures are as innocent as eating<br />

a small square of dark chocolate on a Tuesday night,<br />

some aren’t as harmless.<br />

For many people, the delicious naughtiness of their<br />

guilty pleasure is the whole point. <strong>The</strong> “doing something<br />

because you know you shouldn’t” aspect is the appeal.<br />

Sometimes, the risk of harvesting a potentially negative<br />

outcome is the allure in and of itself, but that’s not<br />

always healthy—for you or your relationships.<br />

Almost one-fourth of Americans have a guilty pleasure<br />

that they hide from their partners. That can get dicey<br />

quickly, depending on what your guilty pleasure is and<br />

how much time you dedicate to it. I admit to (rarely)<br />

eating a (small) bag of potato chips in one day without<br />

my husband knowing and stuffing the bag down low in<br />

the trash to hide it from his unsuspecting eyeballs. I just<br />

figured he needed a little extra padding on my stomach<br />

to use as a pillow.<br />

<strong>The</strong> majority of guilty pleasures aren’t newsworthy, but<br />

the fleeting happiness they produce is your reward.<br />

From watching “<strong>The</strong> Bachelorette” with your girlfriend<br />

(or all by yourself) to jamming out to Justin Bieber,<br />

maybe your guilty pleasures shouldn’t embarrass you—<br />

but perhaps that’s part of the fun. ◉<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 29


LOCAL HERO | STEVE SYLVESTER<br />

30 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


NOT A<br />

HERO<br />

Fargo man served his country,<br />

but the real battle started<br />

when he got home<br />

WRITTEN BY: EMMA VATNSDAL<br />

PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA<br />

Everyone has a story. Whether it’s the sweet neighbor<br />

across the road who is always there to help out on a<br />

moment’s notice or the old man you met at the grocery<br />

store who asked for help getting a can off the top shelf.<br />

Oftentimes, these stories go unnoticed — they’re a<br />

small chapter of an entire book in the life of that<br />

person. However, these stories aid in the shaping<br />

and formation of what makes people, well, people.<br />

For Fargo Fireman, Steve Sylvester, this rings<br />

especially true.<br />

“I grew up about 10 miles north of Wahpeton,”<br />

he said. “I went to science school (North<br />

Dakota State College of Science — NDSCS),<br />

then transferred to Moorhead State for<br />

spring football.”<br />

Sylvester played college football at both<br />

NDSCS and Moorhead State, before<br />

graduating and returning to Wahpeton to<br />

coach.<br />

He and his wife have a combined eight kids,<br />

his three sons from his first marriage, her<br />

three sons and daughter, and a daughter they<br />

adopted together. <strong>The</strong>y have all the worries and<br />

they work through all the typical things parents<br />

deal with when their children range in ages from<br />

16 to 23.<br />

Meeting him now, you’d never guess the Fargo<br />

Firefighter has brought himself from rock-bottom to<br />

the thriving man he is today.<br />

It’s not always an easy feat, but a little help never hurts.<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 31


LOCAL HERO | STEVE SYLVESTER<br />

WORLD TRAVELER<br />

“I think coming out of high school, if I wouldn’t have gotten<br />

the football scholarship, I would’ve joined the military right<br />

away,” Sylvester said. “Which, I kind of wish I would’ve done,<br />

but whatever. Hindsight, I guess, is 20/20.”<br />

Sylvester joined the North Dakota National Guard, where he<br />

had the opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School. He<br />

was commissioned and transferred to Minnesota, where he<br />

spent the next 15 years.<br />

During that time, Sylvester served many deployments —<br />

taking him all over the globe, from Germany to South and<br />

Central America.<br />

In the Spring of 2006, Sylvester was sent as an individual to<br />

serve on the 12-person team, as a military advisor in support<br />

of Operation Iraqi Freedom.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Special Forces mission was running out of teams,”<br />

Sylvester said. “<strong>The</strong>y work in 12-man teams and they said<br />

‘we need counter-insurgency teams in Iraq to help rebuild<br />

this country.’ So the fix was to build 20 of these teams. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

plucked guys from all over the country, and I was one of<br />

them.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>se teams, Sylvester says, were trained in counterinsurgency,<br />

advanced weaponry and small unit tactics, to<br />

name a few of the many courses they learned.<br />

“(After training) they would drop these teams throughout<br />

the country,” he said, “and we would embed with the Iraqi<br />

infantry.”<br />

Once there, Sylvester and his team received more training,<br />

specific to their mission, and were flown out to the locations<br />

where the team would be spending their time.<br />

32


“<strong>The</strong>y picked us up and drove about two kilometers to<br />

where we would live for the next 10 months,” he said.<br />

“And what we ended up doing was not even close to what<br />

we had been trained for.”<br />

Sylvester and his team lived among the Iraqi soldiers,<br />

helping to hand the momentum of Operation Iraqi<br />

Freedom off to the Iraqi army. Sylvester lost 3 friends in<br />

combat and another 3 were sent home severely wounded.<br />

Although he experienced combat on the<br />

battlefield, Sylvester’s most important battle<br />

didn’t happen until he returned home.<br />

COMING HOME<br />

Sylvester returned to his wife and two boys<br />

in North Dakota in 2007, and that’s when the<br />

battle began.<br />

“When I came back, it was good,” he said. “But I<br />

had gotten so used to that atmosphere where, you<br />

know, you don’t trust anybody.”<br />

“When I came back, it was good.<br />

But I had gotten so used to that<br />

atmosphere where, you know, you<br />

don’t trust anybody.”<br />

He was able to take three months to adjust to being<br />

home before he returned to his job at the Fargo Fire<br />

Department, and in that time he was able to connect<br />

with family and friends.<br />

“It started out, you know, everybody wanted to see us,”<br />

Sylvester said. “So what do you do?”<br />

Well, in North Dakota culture, typically the best place to<br />

meet up with old friends is the local watering hole. And<br />

that’s exactly what he did.<br />

“It started off that I drank because I can,” Sylvester said.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>n it was I couldn’t sleep so I gotta get drunk and<br />

basically pass out. And that went along with drinking to<br />

forget, but then it was drinking to remember because I<br />

started forgetting things. And it just snowballed from<br />

there.”<br />

Roughly 18 months after he returned home,<br />

his marriage was completely dissolved and<br />

he was visiting the VA Hospital two to three<br />

times per week.<br />

“I went through every program they had,” he<br />

said. “Some of them two or three times. EMDR<br />

and cognitive processing, anger management<br />

and all that stuff. I was doing that for a long<br />

time, but I think it didn’t help as much as it<br />

could have because I was still drinking.”<br />

As with any unhealthy habit, sometimes you have<br />

to hit rock bottom before you can begin<br />

building back up.<br />

“One night I was living in an apartment off of<br />

25th street,” Sylvester said. “(My buddies and I)<br />

were all on our motorcycles. I came home, and<br />

I really had not been drinking very much. Long<br />

story short, I started watching some videos from<br />

my time in Iraq, had some really intense flashbacks and<br />

ended up putting two bullet holes in my TV. I put my<br />

gun away and for some reason I felt the need to put my<br />

fire department uniform on and was hiding behind my<br />

bed.”<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 33


LOCAL HERO | STEVE SYLVESTER<br />

After a while, Sylvester says he figured out that cops were<br />

going to come. He says he laid down on the floor in front<br />

of his sliding glass door and waited, but nobody showed<br />

up.<br />

“I got in my pickup and drove to the VA and said ‘this is<br />

what I just did,’” he said. “I think I spent the next 72 hours<br />

there.”<br />

After he was released, he was put on a 30 day suspension<br />

from his job before being switched over to working the<br />

day shift.<br />

“I was able to come back on duty,” he said. “I never, ever<br />

drank at work. I never wanted to, which I thought was<br />

kind of unusual, but pretty much every day that I had off<br />

involved drinking somehow.”<br />

He says it got to the point where he was about to get fired<br />

— coming in late, poor performance and the like, but was<br />

given one more chance.<br />

“I went to rehab and did outpatient for three months at<br />

a place called First Step,” Sylvester said. “My (now) wife<br />

is also in recovery and she was working on her sobriety<br />

too. We weren’t married at the time, but we were engaged<br />

and we postponed the wedding until we were in a better<br />

place. We were like two dumpster fires and we needed to<br />

be sober.”<br />

A year and a half later, Sylvester and his new wife were<br />

finally married, and have been sober ever since.<br />

“It’s the best thing I ever did, by the way,” he said.<br />

Sylvester began doing speaking engagements for the<br />

veterans center and was the keynote speaker for the<br />

Veterans Warrior Mental Health Conference. He’s<br />

spoken in more than 10 conferences.<br />

“It’s been an unusual road,” he said. “But I’m in a great<br />

place now and have been for the last probably five years,<br />

her and I both.”<br />

Sylvester’s story is not unlike many of the civil servants<br />

who struggle with their mental health after returning<br />

home from serving their time, but his story does have<br />

an ending that some don’t always get.<br />

He says when it comes to the <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong>, he’s living it.<br />

“My wife, my family, my kids and this community,”<br />

he said. “We’re afforded things not given to us, but<br />

things we feel like we’ve earned through hard work<br />

and perseverance. I told some of my buddies that, you<br />

know, if you endure long enough, eventually you get to<br />

the good stuff. And I think right now, we truly do have<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong>. ★<br />

34 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 35

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