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Local Heroes Six people who are saving lives and saving our community. pg. 25



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Stride Magazine is published 12 times a year and is free. Copies are available at over 1,000 FargoMoorhead locations and digitally at AUGUST 2013

PUBLISHER Spotlight Media LLC.


ello! My name is Candice and it’s my pleasure to announce that I, along with Josie Eyers, will be co-editor of the publication you now hold in your hands. I’m excited to be a part of the Spotlight Media team and to write for Stride—bringing you, the reader, up to date information on health, family, fitness and community. Originally from Moorhead, I recently moved back to the area from Minneapolis. I attended Hamline University in St. Paul and hold a B.A. in both English and Business Administration. Living in Minneapolis, I met some great people, of which I give credit to jumpstarting my passion for fitness and healthy living. It was the 6 a.m. Sculpt classes at CorePower Yoga, 6 a.m. morning runs around Lake Calhoun and the Wednesday night rock climbing sessions at Vertical Endeavors (just to name a few!) that allowed me to take my hobby of fitness and healthy living and turn it into a lifestyle. So, why Fargo? Why Stride? They say there’s no place like home. I have a passion for writing, I have a passion for healthy living and I have a passion for helping others. Putting that all together, Stride is the perfect spot to be. My goal as co-editor is to bring the stories of health, family, fitness and community that are relevant to the FM area to your fingertips every month. In this issue of Stride, you’ll find inspiring stories from local everyday heroes. You’ll get the 411 on how to paddle board like a pro. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for what the August issue of Stride holds. I hope you enjoy reading the following pages as much as I enjoyed helping create them.

Candice Grimm 4

Stride • August 2013


ou may have heard about those nerds who read the dictionary for fun and carry a thesaurus wherever they go, and here’s your chance to meet one—me! My name is Josie Eyers, and I’m teaming up with Candice Grimm as co-editor of Stride. I’ve always loved to write, so journalism seemed to be a natural career path for me. I love it when I find that perfect word with just the right subtle nuances I’m looking for. I’ve always loved to write, but not about myself, and not about fiction; I love to write about things that have a real impact on people. Journalism may not be the top-career choice among young adults, but those of us in the business will tell you that if you are passionate, its rewards will shine through. The most rewarding thing for me is the opportunity I have to meet so many incredible people. I talked with some amazing people while writing this issue’s cover story, “Local Heroes.” Meeting people who have such an admirable attitude of service and selfsacrifice was very humbling for me and I only hope that their stories do justice to the inspiring lives they lead. Honestly, it was hard to choose only six people for the story, as so many men and women in the Fargo-Moorhead community have amazing stories to share. My goal as co-editor is to share the inspiring stories of others in our community with you, our readers! Whether it is a story that will inspire you to eat healthier, value your fitness, get involved in a charity or serve our community, I hope the story will show how the best in others can bring out the best in you.

Josie Eyers

President/Founder Mike Dragosavich Editorial Director Andrew Jason Stride Editors Candice Grimm, Josie Eyers Art Director Andy Neidt Graphic Design Andy Neidt, George Stack Research/Contributors Josie Eyers, Candice Grimm, Kylee Seifert, Andrew Jason Copy Editors Amanda Ahrenholz, Elizabeth Erickson, Candice Grimm, Joe Kerlin, Tracy Nicholson, Josie Eyers Web Design/Social Media Jake Schaffer, Erica Kale

SPOTLIGHT MEDIA General Manager Brent Tehven Marketing/Sales Tracy Nicholson, Lindsey Gunderson, Ben Stechmann Circulation Manager Seth Holden Administration Erika Olson PHOTOGRAPHY Jesse Hoorelbeke of J. Alan Paul Photography (, Alison Smith


CONTACT 502 1st Ave N Ste 100 Fargo,ND 58102 701-478-7768

Stride Magazine is published by Spotlight Media Inc. Copyright 2013 Stride Magazine & All Rights Reserved. No parts of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission of Stride Magazine & Stride Magazine & will not be held responsible for any errors or omissions found in the magazine or on Spotlight Media Inc., accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.


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local heroes 25 pg


August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Are you up to date with your vaccines?


Find out what’s happening in town to turn empty space into green space through the efforts of some local gardeners.


Ready to up your game and enter the world of extreme racing? We talked with the race director of ENDracing to find out more about the wild sport.


Kids say the darnest things! Check out what some local little philosophers have to say about, well, being a kid!


Stride • August 2013


Fargo-Moorhead is full of great people. Here are some inspiring stories from local heroes who put other’s needs before their own to keep our community safe and sound.


Ready to learn how to paddle board? We talked with the experts at SOL Surf Co. in Detroit Lakes MN to get the skinny on how to paddle board like a pro.


Even when you’ve been knocked down, you’ve got to get back up. Karla Chandler knows this all too well. Find out how here.

We’re looking for writing, photography and design interns. Email andrew@ with resume and examples of work.

National Immunization awareness month Health

Did you know every August is

National Immunization Awareness Month? By Candice Grimm


ith the school year about to begin, it’s the perfect time to be sure students are on track with vaccinations. We’ve contacted some local health agencies to find out more about immunization requirements, especially the requirements needed for school age and post secondary students. We picked the brains of public health nurse Cheryl Wavrin of Fargo Cass Public Health and NDSU’s Student Health Services to find out all we could about students and vaccinations. Here is a summary of the most common vaccinations needed for students today. As always, be sure to contact your doctor if you have any additional or specific questions concerning your or your loved one’s health!


Stride • August 2013



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PRE-K STUDENTS “Before students enter Kindergarten, the DTaP, polio and the second dose of both the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and chickenpox vaccines are required,” stated Wavrin. Kinrix is the common shot given to children which contains both the DTaP and polio vaccine. MMRV is the shot given to children which contains the second dose of both the MMR and chicken pox vaccine.

K-12 REQUIREMENTS When students enter middle school, the Tdap and meningococcal vaccines are required. The Tdap is the adult formulation of DTaP, protecting against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. The meningococcal vaccine protects against meningitis. “When a student turns 16, a meningococcal booster is suggested but not required by schools,” Wavrin explained.


POST-SECONDARY REQUIREMENTS Upon entering college, proof of two immunizations for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) done at the age of 12 months or after must be submitted to student health services. In addition, newly admitted students under the age of 21 who will be living in campus housing must provide proof of immunization against meningococcal disease after the age of 16. Lastly, proof of a current dose of Tetanus (Td or Tdap) completed within the last 10 years must be submitted as well. Depending on a student’s travel or work experience, some students may also need documentation of a tuberculosis screening (TB). You can find the requirements for TB screenings on most college health services websites.

Here is a list of some local health providers that offer vaccination services.

(Be sure to call and schedule your vaccination appointment ahead of time.) NDSU

Student Health Services 18th Street and Centennial Boulevard, Fargo 701-231-7331


Hendrix Clinic and Counseling Center 1308 9th Ave, Moorhead 218-477-2211


Kjos Health Center 901 8th St. S, Moorhead 218-299-3662


Stride • August 2013


715 11th St. N # 303, Moorhead 218-299-5220

Fargo Cass Public Health

401 3rd Ave. N, Fargo 701-241-1360

Sanford Health - Fargo Broadway Clinic

801 Broadway N, Fargo 701-234-2000

Essentia Health - 32nd Ave Clinic

3000 32nd Ave. S, Fargo 701-364-8000

Stride • August 2013



By Andrew Jason


. Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

f you haven’t noticed, Fargo has a lot of space. In fact, most of that space is wasted. Well, a few people and organizations are working on turning that space into usable gardens that will be available to the community. One of these people is Jamie Holding Eagle. “We have so much space that we could be using for stuff like this, but we don’t use it… We should be having it (gardens) at all the spaces where we’re at.”

Gardening might not seem like the most exciting thing to read about. Trust us, after learning about the community gardens in Fargo, you’ll be excited about what’s happening.

Jamie Holding Eagle 12

Stride • August 2013

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“The philosophy is to leave a little, take a little.”


Want to volunteer? Holding Eagle encourages anyone who is interested in becoming involved in these community gardens to come to one of the New American Gardens. The group meets on Tuesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. at the garden at 3910 20th Ave. S, Fargo and Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. at 3910 25th St. S, Fargo.

What do they grow? The list of everything that the New American Gardens grows is huge, but it includes carrots, peas, corn, beans and over 100 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

Hungry? Next time you’re downtown, check out the new community garden that is going up in the US Bank Plaza. This garden is available to anyone. When the produce is grown, people are encouraged to take a small portion of that produce.



ne of the biggest community gardening projects is through a group called Growing Together. Growing Together offers New American Gardens. These gardens provide a way for new Americans to become involved with the community. The idea is to have new immigrants work in the gardens; they then get to keep the food grown. This project is usually met with great respect and knowledge from the new Americans working the garden. For example, there are a number of Bhutanese immigrants in Fargo. These Bhutaneses have a large history of agriculture so the new immigrants are able to bring that culture, experience and knowledge to the gardens in Fargo. “It helps build that connection again. If you’ve been a displaced person, it helps get you connected to the land again,” Holding Eagle said. That’s not where the community gardening ends though. Another project that Holding Eagle is helping start is the Red River Seed Library. She is starting this project up with the help of Kailyn Allen. This project allows people to share organic, heirloom and open-pollinated seeds. It is currently run through the Moorhead Public Library. Anyone


Stride • August 2013

can go and check out seeds. So, if you’re looking to grow some tomatoes, you can go and check out tomato seeds. At the end of the growing season, you’re asked to bring some tomato seeds back to the library. The whole idea of these community gardens is to create a connected community. “It’s really good because it helps build community,” Holding Eagle said. “You get to work in an area doing fun, hands on work. It’s different because it’s not a charity model. You’re not doing it for anybody, we’re all working together.” Those who volunteer can learn quite a bit. Jared Swanson is a volunteer who works at one of the New American Gardens. “It’s a lot of fun. That one is primarily Bhutanese families so these families came from rural areas where they were growing their own food so they know a lot about this kind of work… I really learn a lot.” Plus, as an added incentive, those who work on the gardens get to take the produce that comes up. “The philosophy is to leave a little, take a little,” Holding Eagle said.

Jared Swanson

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We’ve been at Oak Grove for four years and are thankful every day that we made that decision. Our boys have made close friends and have also grown close to their teachers because of the small class sizes. Since they are able to join any activity they want, the boys can explore and discover what they enjoy. We are so excited to hear that Oak Grove is expanding their Elementary School - now more familes can experience Oak Grove like we have.

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2013 5:30 pm | Tailgating Social Hour 7:00 pm | Dinner

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END RACING Extreme racing isn’t just a hobby for Andy Magness, it’s a labor of love. Magness, who is the race director of ENDracing (Extreme North Dakota Racing) has two passions:

1. Extreme racing. 2. Providing others the opportunity

to experience extreme racing.

By Candice Grimm “Extreme racing is a transformative experience. It’s a different caliber of events than a marathon. You’re forced into places, forced to learn about yourself,” said Magness. Extreme racing is a sport unlike any other. It challenges participants in more than one way - from mountain biking to hiking and running - during the length of a race. Magness’ passion for the sport has fueled his dedication to bring the same enthusiasm to others.


ENDracing is North Dakota’s first extreme racing organization. This non-profit grassroots organization started in 2007. From winter triathlons to 24-hour adventure races, ENDracing prides itself on the variety of races offered. Magness and his small team work to provide challenging courses for new and veteran extreme racers in all their events. The emphasis is on the participants and their experience during the race. Unlike other groups that put on challenge races, ENDracing focuses on keeping entry costs low. “Our focus is on the quality of the course and on the participants’ experience and less on fancy finish lines,” said Magness. Since its inception, ENDracing has given athletes of the Great Plains a chance to test their physical and mental boundaries. It has also given the average Joe a chance to test the waters of extreme racing. By eliminating barriers, such as high entry fee costs, Magness and ENDracing are on track to bring extreme racing to the forefront for racers of all types. If you’re ready to dip into the terrain of extreme racing, let ENDracing be your entry into this wild and wonderful sport.

Photos provided by ENDracing

Stride • August 2013


Steve Walker Fargo

ENDracing EVENTS Here is a list of upcoming ENDracing events. Be sure to check out ENDracing’s Facebook page (Extreme North Dakota Racing) and their website to register for events and to keep up to date with racing information.



(24-Hour Adventure Race)

August 24-25, 2013

Pembina Gorge, near Walhalla, ND Race limited to 30 teams Registration is now open

END-UFF DA 5k Mud Run (Not your average Mud Run)

September 7, 2013

Grand Forks, ND Recreational/Elite racing categories Registration closes on Sept. 5


(Twelve hOur Mountain Bike of Enduring Delirium)

October 26, 2013

Turtle Rive State Park, near Arvilla, ND Halloween themed mountain bike race Registration opens Aug. 1, 2013


(Terrifying Run Against Innumerable Lost Souls)

October 27, 2013

Turtle River State Park, near Arvilla, ND Halloween themed solo or team race Registration opens Aug. 1, 2013


(Winter Adventure Rogaine)

December 21, 2013

Maplewood State Park, near Pelican Rapids, MN Solo/Team race Registration opens fall 2013


Stride • August 2013



No matter what the situation...

Words OF Kidsdom family

Photos by Alison Smith

If you could be a teacher for a day, what would you teach everyone?

, Addison

Age 6

kids always seem to unknowingly lighten the load with their lighthearted humor and one liners. While they may not always make complete sense, they do remind us of a simpler time in our lives. Here are some words of wisdom and profound thoughts from some local (future) philosophers.

“Potty training!”

BRODY, Age 5

“How to do science!”

“I’d teach them about the earth.”

KaseN, Age 4 20

Stride • August 2013

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DOWNTOWN FARGO | (701) 232-2491

Local Heroes By Josie Eyers

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

It takes a selfless person to dedicate his or her life to serving others. There are so many people who serve our community by the work they do. Many of them have had to overcome personal struggles of their own, yet they still find the strength and motivation to continue to serve others. We honor these service men and women by sharing their inspiring stories.

Stride • August 2013


Police Community

You may not realize this when you get busted for driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, but police officers have a lot of passion for helping others. The lives of these two officers exemplify an incredible attitude of self-sacrifice and a joy for helping people.

“I asked God to give me cancer again if it meant sparing another family from going through what they were going through.�

George Vinson Being a police officer runs in the family for Sgt. George Vinson. He grew up in Ruthton, MN, and attended Minnesota State University Moorhead for criminal justice, knowing he would take the police officer career track. After completing training at Alexandria Technical College, he began working for the Fargo Police Department in 2004 and has worked in Fargo ever since.


Stride • August 2013

He was selected for the K-9 unit in 2007 and was paired with Earl, a Belgian Malinois narcotic detector dog. Together, Vinson and Earl work the day shift, sometimes scoping out mail services or the airport and performing public demonstrations. Vinson also takes Earl to visit kids who are battling cancer to lift their spirits, which is an opportunity he cherishes, for he is no stranger to battling cancer.

Officers Round One with Cancer When Vinson was 5 years old, he fell off his bicycle and the handlebars jabbed him in the ribs. The sore didn’t get better, so he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. He had surgery to remove his entire rib and he also underwent chemotherapy treatments. He was in the hospital for the better part of his Kindergarten school year and was cured around age 7. Because he was so young at the time, Vinson doesn’t recall a lot of the details of his first battle with cancer, but he does remember the emotions that came with the encounter. “I remember laying awake at night, just feeling scared,” he said. Vinson also remembers strangers who would come to visit him in the hospital just to lift his spirits. A man who had competed in the World of Outlaws car race walked into Vinson’s hospital room wearing his full racing get-up. He had gone to the hospital that day just to find somebody to cheer up. “He said, ‘I got first place in the race last night, why don’t you have my trophy?’” Vinson recalled. “I still have his trophy, which is pretty cool. That guy inspired me to do the same thing here in Fargo.”

Ewing Sarcoma is a bone cancer that affects mainly children, but it is rather uncommon. It accounts for only one percent of all childhood cancers and is treated successfully in over 50 percent of cases, according to WebMD.

A Selfless Prayer Vinson heard on the radio about a benefit in Fargo for an 8-year-old girl who was fighting cancer. When he heard she, too, had Ewing Sarcoma, he decided to go to the benefit with his K-9 partner, Earl. He visited with the girl and tried to lift her spirits, encouraging her and her mother with his own story of cancer survival. He gave the girl a medal Earl had won and told her, “I’ve been through it; you’ll get through it, and when you do you can be anything you want in life.” The girl had a lot of fun playing with Earl, and Vinson was glad for the chance she had to get her mind off of her cancer. “When people would come visit me, like the race car guy, just to get my mind off of it, that was a big deal to me,” Vinson said. “So that was my goal for her: that she could get her mind off of it and just be a kid again.” Although he had lifted that little girl’s spirits, Vinson left the benefit feeling a little down because of all the memories it brought back of his own battle with cancer. “I kind of thought maybe if I got cancer again, another family wouldn’t have to go through that,” Vinson said. “I asked God to give me cancer again if it meant sparing another family from going through what they were going through.” He had mainly forgotten about that prayer when he was diagnosed with cancer again six months later.

During his first battle with cancer as a young boy, Vinson remembers making cookies with his mother as something he did that got his mind off of his sickness. He keeps this picture close at hand as a reminder that he can get through anything.

Round Two with Cancer and Beyond In January 2012, Vinson’s heartburn symptoms turned out to be a case of Gastrinoma with a tumor the size of a softball on his liver. He had surgery to remove nearly half of his liver, from which he later developed an abscess on the liver. He was in the hospital recovering for two months after surgery. He still has checkups, but after beating cancer a second time, Vinson is fully recovered, working full-time and doing all the hobbies he enjoys. Vinson and Earl do a “Know Your Body” presentation for fifth grade students at all the Fargo public schools during the year. Vinson tells the students about Earl and what he does with the Police Department and he explains the negative effects of drugs on the body. Vinson sees these talks as a chance to steer kids’ lives in a positive direction. “If the dog can have some sort of positive impact on the kids, that’s great,” he said. “Even if it is just one kid over the last seven years who is presented with a situation to try drugs and says no, it was all worth it for that.” Anytime he hears about a kid who is battling cancer, he offers to attend a benefit or visit them in their homes. “It’s nice to see the kids smile and forget about what they are going through, even if it’s for that short of a time,” he said. Vinson had received a photo from the little girl that he first visited in the hospital, which he still keeps on his desk at work. “I keep it there to remind me what it was like to go through the tough time and the hope I can bring through my position,” he said.

“Even if it is just one kid over the last seven years who is presented with a situation to try drugs and says no, it was all worth it for that.” Stride • August 2013



Nicole Reno This expecting mother’s decision to work for law enforcement was influenced by family members who had dealt with domestic abuse. This experience led to her desire to help people who cannot help themselves, Reno said. She grew up in St. Cloud, MN,


Stride • August 2013

and attended North Dakota State University, finished her degree at St. Cloud State University and completed law enforcement training at Alexandria State Technical College. She began her career with the Moorhead Police Department and has been there for seven years.

Community and Family Ties Reno is a patrol officer, which entails patrolling her beat in Moorhead, responding to calls from dispatch and enforcing traffic laws and city ordinances. Working late and unusual hours is a challenge for Reno, who has two kids and a baby due in November. “Balancing shift work with the family life gets to be a little difficult,” she said. She’s been exposed to family life from one end of the spectrum to the other. “I’ve seen how lucky I was growing up, why I got into this job and how I can really help somebody,” Reno said.

What she’s experienced on the job has influenced the way she cherishes her own family. Reno said she has witnessed a lot of death scenes, some involving young children. “You want to go home and hold your kids back from seeing that negativity,” she said. Reno and her husband, who works at the jail, don’t talk about their work in front of their kids. “They don’t know the things that we see or the things that we do,” Reno said. “They know that mommy finds the bad guys and daddy keeps the bad guys.”

Growing up, Reno was sheltered from a lot of bad life experiences, so being exposed to some of the negative aspects of life was especially tough at the beginning of her career. “Seeing some of the things we see and having your perception of reality shifted is something that takes getting used to,” she said. “When someone grows up in a good family and begins police work when they are young, they don’t necessarily see common negative lifestyles as a social norm,” Reno explained. “I grew up in a good family. … Now it’s been more of a reality to me that there’s a lot more problems going on in the world,” she said. Through her experiences in the Police Department, Reno has witnessed the effects that destructive lifestyles such as alcoholism, drugs and domestic abuse have on families and society.

There are a lot of things Reno enjoys about her role as a patrol officer, and they make the stresses of the job a little easier. Reno loves the times she gets to spend interacting with the community and talking with kids. “I love to stop at parks and hand out stickers or tattoos,” she said. “To get out there and make a positive impact on kids before they ever need our help, that’s probably my favorite part —to know that you can slowly but surely make a difference and put a smile on a kid’s face.” Reno values the opportunities she gets to make a difference in people’s lives, whether it is just for that one brief moment or the beginning of a changed lifestyle.

A Passion to Help Reno has certain compassion towards helping those who have been less fortunate than herself, a feeling she said comes from her faith. “I’ve been blessed in my life … and I feel like it’s my duty as a healthy person to give back and help those who need help,” she explained. “Because some day, somebody might need to be there for me.” One of her particular passions is Special Olympics, for which she serves as the Moorhead area coordinator. Reno’s current deputy chief was the Special Olympics coordinator when she first came to Moorhead Police Department. He learned that Reno had done volunteer work with children through her college sorority, so he asked her to fill in as Special Olympics coordinator for him one year. “Little did I know that that small decision on his part would change my life,” Reno said. After the first year, she took over as Special Olympics area coordinator. She had never been

Photo by Andrea Kramer

In January, Reno was part of an international team who ran the Flame of Hope through the cities and towns of the Republic of Korea as a prelude to the Special Olympics World Winter Games. They ran through the countryside, promoting Special Olympics and supporting the athletes.

“I’ve been blessed in my life … and I feel like it’s my duty as a healthy person to give back and help those who need help.” involved with Special Olympics, but an aunt who had mental disabilities had put an area of compassion in her heart for people with intellectual disabilities, she said. Reno also had the opportunity to help out at the Special Olympics State Games. She had the honor of beginning the Law Enforcement Torch Run, an event for which officers and athletes carry the Flame of Hope to the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics competitions.“We start it in Moorhead, and literally, we pass the torch from county to county and it travels around the state,” Reno said. At the State Games, Reno talked with two former high school classmates who had mental disabilities. “They both told me … how much Special Olympics meant to them and how it changed their lives,” Reno said. “One told me how Special Olympics had helped him develop the confidence to get through some of the problems he had been having.” That feedback made Reno aware of

the difference Special Olympics can make in people’s lives. “They are the best athletes in the whole world,” Reno said. “They do it with a smile on their face, they do it with a positive attitude and they don’t do it for any other reason than joy.” Reno also organized the first annual truck pull between the Moorhead police and fire departments as a fundraiser for Special Olympics. “We’ve raised over $3,000 this year for Special Olympics,” she said. She also helped organize the Fargo Polar Plunge, for which participants raise money and then jump into freezing water. Reno said serving Special Olympics with her colleagues changes their outlook on the work they do as police officers. “When we get together as a group and do something positive, it really reminds us why we do our job,” she said. “So often we can focus on the negative parts of our job and the disastrous things we see, but this reminds us that we can have a positive impact on someone’s life.” Stride • August 2013


Firefig  Community

Not every firefighter lives the life portrayed in movies. Running out of a blazing building with a baby in arms may only happen once or twice in a career. The rest of the long days on the job require a passion to help others and a dedication to serve the community, and these two firefighters from the Moorhead Fire Department have what it takes.

“You have to take ownership of the community and the department and really enjoy it.”

Dean Bloch Dean Bloch has worked for the Moorhead Fire Department for his entire career. Raised in Albany, MN, Bloch attended Lake Superior College for applied science and fire technology. After college he began working


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at the Moorhead Fire Department and has been there for 15 years. He has a lot of passion for helping others, which is an essential component for the work he does.

hters Day-to-Day Routine

Dedicated to Serve

Bloch will testify that not every day on the job involves accomplishing nail-biting rescue missions that have happy endings. “When I first got into firefighting, I thought, ‘Oh man, this is going to be exciting,’ and it is,” he said. But if a firefighter is working only for the adrenaline rush, they might not be there long. Seventy-five percent or more of the calls they receive are medical. “If you can’t go on a call in the middle of the night to help a little old lady with a broken hip, and if you don’t feel good about yourself and what you’ve done… I mean, that’s what this is, that’s what we do,” Bloch said. “You’re not going to be that classic movie firefighter. … You have to take ownership of the community and the department and really enjoy it.”

Yet there are moments on the job when firefighters are able to witness happy endings. Bloch also remembers a classic fire rescue experience that left him feeling grateful he had the opportunity to save somebody. A few years ago, he was on scene at an apartment building that was filled with smoke. Bloch and his fellow firefighters thought the smoke most likely came from burnt food that someone had neglected in the oven. Nonetheless, they cleared the tenants from the building and attempted to gain entry to the room that was pouring smoke. Bloch tried forcing the door open, and his tool smashed a hole in the door, so he reached inside the hole to unlock the door. Instead, when he reached in, he felt a man’s hand! The man had been trying to get out of the apartment because, as it turned out, the fire was more serious than the firefighters had thought. Bloch was able to drag the man, who was unconscious, from the building. “He couldn’t open the door; that’s how bad the smoke was,” Bloch said. “He only had a few more minutes, and that was a situation we know ended well.”

Much of his day’s work is spent cleaning equipment, responding to medical calls and training. At smaller fire stations like Moorhead, each firefighter has to know how to be effective in every position — operating the trucks and the engines, pumping water, ventilation and forceful entry. Family life can be difficult with the 24-hour shifts Bloch works. He and his wife have four kids, so he makes every day off count to spend more time with his family. Some situations Bloch encounters on the job involve seeing people in discouraging circumstances. “It’s a challenge because it’s horrible to see somebody in that situation,” Bloch said. “It’s good because hopefully you are able to improve that situation, but sometimes you can’t.” Bloch feels that the best part of his job is getting the chance to help others, but it can be devastating when his efforts to save somebody are unsuccessful. “Sometimes it’s bad and you know that you can’t change it,” he said. Bloch can barely recall the most challenging day of his career because the experience was so distressing. “I just remember my partner standing a few feet away doing CPR on a baby … and it didn’t end well,” he said. “I don’t remember where we were or a lot of the details; I just have that picture in my mind.”

Members of the Moorhead Fire Department donate time and money to these charity organizations every year: Make A Wish, United Blood Services, Roger Maris Cancer Center, The Salvation Army, Fraternal Order of Police, Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Spinal Cord Society, Babe Ruth Baseball, Sanford Hospital and Spud Boosters.

Firefighters serve our community not only while they are in uniform; they contribute many hours of volunteer work to the community on their days off as well. As vice president of the Moorhead Fire Department’s union, Local 1323 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Bloch sets up all of the union’s charity and volunteer efforts. They do many fundraisers throughout the year and contribute volunteer work nearly every month. Bloch said he is very proud of the dedication his fellow firefighters show by their willingness to volunteer for fundraisers and service events. One charity they donate time to every year is the Salvation Army during the bell ringing event. Although one-third of the group will be on duty and cannot volunteer to ring the bell, the other 20 members are ready and willing to fill in for the 25 spots, sometimes doing double shifts. “The president of the union once sat outside ringing the bell for eight hours straight,” Bloch said. Having 20 out of a 100 firefighters participate in volunteer work might be praiseworthy for some much larger fire departments, but the level of volunteerism at the Moorhead Fire Department is incredible, Bloch said. “I’ve got 30 firefighters and we have 20 of them do an event, while the other 10 are on duty and they are apologizing that they cannot do it,” he explained. Many firefighters are also involved in service work as individuals in the community. All of this time and commitment dedicated to service might leave some wondering where Bloch’s and his colleagues’ motivations come from. Bloch explained that the service both on and off the job “feed off each other.” “You are here helping your community, and when you are off duty you are still helping your community,” he said. “You kind of feel an ownership of the community. You want it to be successful.”

“He only had a few more minutes, and that was a situation we know ended well.” Stride • August 2013



“We’re just trying to make someone else’s worst day a little better. That’s our focus as a fire department.”

Dan Schoonhoven Dan Schoonhoven has 23 years of firefighting and 31 years of emergency medical experience under his belt. Originally from Thief River Falls, MN, Schoonhoven attended Minnesota State University Moorhead for a couple years and took EMT classes from Minnesota State Community and Technical College. He began his emergency medical career in Billings, MT, doing ground and air ambulance work as an EMT. “We flew all over the nation, but our main flights were to northern Montana to


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get injured people,” Schoonhoven said. He also did ambulance work in Bismarck, ND, before moving to Moorhead, where he earned a degree from Minnesota State Community and Technical College and taught EMT classes there. He began his firefighting career at that time with the Fargo Fire Department, and two years later he “jumped the river” to Moorhead Fire Department, where he’s worked ever since.

The Days on Call Schoonhoven and his fellow firefighters begin their 24-hour shifts at 8 a.m. One of the first things they do is check over the fire trucks and equipment to make sure they are ready to respond to any calls. Then they have a training class or complete projects around the station. Keeping up with the skills training and the technology that comes with the job can be a challenge. Schoonhoven is in charge of buying the emergency medical equipment and leading the EMS training for his shift. A 24-hour shift means they have to be ready to respond to calls at any time, even while they try to catch some sleep. “We average roughly two and a half calls each night,” Schoonhoven said. “So the chances of being woken up are pretty good.” Always being prepared to respond to a call can be challenging, but firefighters put their own discomfort aside so they can improve someone else’s emergency. “We’re just trying to make someone else’s worst day a little better,” Schoonhoven said. “That’s our focus

as a fire department.” The stresses of the job are also lessened by the camaraderie the firefighters have with each other. “We have a great staff here,” Schoonhoven said. “It’s really fun to work with the guys. They call it the brotherhood and it kind of is.” When you spend an entire 24 hours with the same group of people, you get to know them really well. The guys in the department tease each other and kid around a lot, though they are serious when they need to be. Schoonhoven doesn’t always think of the calls he must respond to as challenging; he views them as an opportunity to help others. “I’ve always enjoyed helping people,” he explained. “I think everyone in this business enjoys it.” He said fighting the fires and responding to emergencies is fun and he doesn’t know a single firefighter who doesn’t love what they do. “I love what I do, so it doesn’t seem like work,” he said.

“I’ve just seen too many people killed with simple crashes. … It doesn’t have to happen. If we can just get the word out and change their minds, it could make a huge difference.”

Of course, it’s not all fun and games. Some situations Schoonhoven has encountered have left him shaken, like one fire he responded to early in his career. It was 95 degrees that day when Schoonhoven and his colleagues arrived at the scene of a garage, boat and car fully involved in fire with part of the house and fence blazing as well. They fought their way between the burning house and garage; going through three tanks of air trying to put out the flames. It was extremely hot, and Schoonhoven began to get very dizzy while climbing up the stairs in the house. For his own safety, he knew he needed to get out, so he told his partner. “That was probably the worst fire for physical exhaustion,” Schoonhoven recalled.

Photo by: Alison Smith

A Passion for Safety The harrowing situations Schoonhoven has encountered over the years of fighting fires and responding to medical emergencies has led to his unique passion for seatbelt safety, especially among young drivers. For over 15 years, he has performed seatbelt safety presentations at schools and drivers’ education classes. He is also the chairperson for a committee within the Red River Valley Safe Communities Coalition.

the core. I said I have to do something about this.” It was so distressing that Schoonhoven couldn’t talk about the incident for 12 years.

Years later, through a connection with his wife’s colleague at MeritCare, Schoonhoven began visiting schools to talk about seatbelt safety. At a presentation to a drivers’ education class this summer, Schoonhoven told the kids, “I’m speaking for all of those people who can’t speak to you today.” In the His motivation to speak to kids about seatbelt presentations, he explains the hazards of not safety stems from a crash he encountered wearing seatbelts through photos and stories while working in Bismarck as an EMT. It was of real crashes. He debunks excuses for why a low-speed rollover of a family station wagon people don’t wear their seatbelts, and he with a 16-year-old boy driving. He had jerked demonstrates what happens to drivers and the wheel to avoid another car, slid sideways passengers during an impact. He talks to about on ice and hit railroad tracks. The passenger’s 1,900 students each year. “It’s been a passion door opened, his 11-year-old sister fell out of mine, and it’s important to me to get the and the car rolled on top of her. “We showed story out,” Schoonhoven said. “I’ve just seen up and she was barely alive when we started too many people killed with simple crashes. CPR,” Schoonhoven said. “She ended up … It doesn’t have to happen. If we can just get dying right in front of us on our way in. I was the word out and change their minds, it could pretty young then, and it really shook me to make a huge difference.”

This is what two teenagers had to say after listening to Schoonhoven’s seat belt presentation: “I think this presentation will convince anyone and everyone who doesn’t already wear a seatbelt to wear one.” “WOW ... This program really showed me how important (seatbelts) really are and I believe I’ll never forget to buckle up.”

Stride • August 2013


National Gu  To many people, “service” is an especially meaningful word when it labels members of our military, but to these members of the North Dakota National Guard, service is just a way of life. Both of these Guard members have been deployed numerous times, but they have a unique passion that keeps them grounded to the community they support. Photo by Alison Smith


“If we take an IED out of a road today, that means someone is not getting hurt. You see the impact of your actions immediately.”

William Kennedy Master Sgt. William Kennedy serves fulltime in the N.D. Air National Guard as an explosive ordnance disposal technician (EOD). Originally from Fargo, he began his military career as a military police officer in an airborne unit. He joined the EOD career field right before 9/11, thinking he would maybe become an engineer. But everything changed after 9/11 when his EOD unit was activated.


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Nearly every other year he has been deployed overseas. In 2003 he was deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom covering the area around Iraq. He then returned to Fargo for school at NDSU where he earned a degree in emergency management. After college, he was deployed to Afghanistan supporting the Polish and American armies. He returned to Afghanistan last year, which will most likely be his last time in combat operations due to knee injuries.

ard Members Life as an EOD Tech EOD techs support whatever entity requests help with explosive hazards, which could be anything from hand grenades to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or weapons of mass destruction. They are trained to defeat and exploit these explosive hazards. “It’s a unique job at a unique time in the history of our country,” Kennedy said, explaining that EOD techs have been very active in the Middle East during the last 10 years. “We went from being people that no one knew anything about to all of a sudden commanders couldn’t do anything logistically without us.”

God you don’t want to let anyone down around you. You want to do as well as you can,” he said.

Kennedy said his duties as an EOD tech provide him with a sense of purpose. “If we take an IED out of a road today, that means someone is not getting hurt,” he said. “You see the impact of your actions immediately. That’s different than day to day life in the United States, when you compare war to life here.” EOD techs work in teams and teammates become extremely dependent on each other. “My biggest fear, aside from hurting the wrong people, is just, Dear

Kennedy doesn’t see himself as any more important or self-sacrificing than the next guy. “It makes me feel awkward when people say thank you for serving,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be in the military, just like some people know they want to be a photojournalist. It’s what you do. It’s what you are.”

West Winds Apartments

Windwood Townhomes

EOD techs also collect evidence that can lead directly to the capture of enemy forces through forensic analysis of post-blast scenarios. “When I do a postblast investigation on an IED, I collect evidence just like a cop,” he said. He gathers wires, components and anything that he can send to the labs. Fingerprints that he may collect from an explosive can lead to the capture of terrorists.

During his most recent mission in Afghanistan, Kennedy gathered 65 useable latent fingerprints and helped secure 25 DNA matches that led to the capture of enemy forces. He also executed 93 EOD missions and as an EOD team leader, supervised 3,300 hours of EOD support. Kennedy supported 73 cordon and search missions in Talibanheavy areas and neutralized 41 IEDs that were set to target coalition forces. Additionally, he destroyed 4,100 pounds of enemy explosives.

“I knew I wanted to be in the military, just like some people know they want to be a photojournalist. It’s what you do. It’s what you are.”

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Stephanie Collins


Capt. Stephanie Collins serves part-time in the N.D. Army National Guard as the Medical Operations Manager for the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. Raised in Virginia Beach, VA, Collins knew she wanted to be a soldier since she was 11 years old. Since joining the military, she has served in various medical and training positions and has been deployed numerous times. “My favorite jobs were any of the combat medic stuff that I did and the training I did to prepare people for deployments,” she said. In the Medical Corps, Collins provides doctrine for medical training for medics and

“… I could either feel sorry for myself and complain about it the whole rest of my life, or I could do something about it.” 36

Stride • August 2013

medical care providers in the state. Overseas, she looks at battle space to determine how many medical facilities and embedded medical personnel are needed based on terrain and other factors. Her position advises command on medical assets and unforeseen medical problems on missions and how to handle them. Collins has always been dedicated to improving soldiers’ survivability on the battlefield, whether it was during her time as combat medic, training troops or with medical operations.

Overcoming the Unfeasible Early in Collins’ military career, she was serving as a combat medic in Korea when a horrifying accident left her recovering in a hospital for four months. She was executing a patient extraction in a heavily wooded area on the side of a mountain with a UH-1 “Huey” helicopter and jungle penetrator, an anchor-like seat used to hoist an injured patient into a hovering helicopter. Collins got the patient and sent them into the helicopter on a gurney. Normally, the medic is then brought back up to the helicopter to treat the patient en route to the hospital. However, Collins was never brought back into the helicopter.

Another huge motivating factor for Collins was a physical fitness test she had to pass one year following the accident or she would be ousted from the military. “That was my worst test ever,” she said. From there, Collins began to see her limitations as an asset to help her train smarter. Now she has the highest fitness score in the brigade among men and women.

The crew chief had suffered a heart attack, which left him unresponsive and unable to communicate with the pilot to tell him Collins was still on the ground. The pilot took off to fly the 200 miles back to the hospital with Collins dangling from the bottom while the helicopter flew 90 miles per hour. Collins was in and out of responsiveness, but she remembers being very cold while being dragged through the air. By the time the helicopter was coming in to land, communications at the hospital informed the pilot that Collins was dangling below. In an attempt to land safely without hurting Collins, the helicopter moved off of the landing pad. For some reason, however, the helicopter spun and the tail rotor was caught in power lines. Collins was sliding on the ground, being pulled by the spinning helicopter, when it landed on her and crushed her hips. Doctors put her in an induced coma to do surgery right away. She had a round plate and six pins put above her left femur and a plate and four pins above her right femur. Doctors told her she would never be able to walk again. Recovery was a hard process for Collins, but she found the motivation to walk normally again and regain her fitness. She used a walker for a while and continued to use a cane for two years after the accident. “My mom told me I could either feel sorry for myself and complain about it the whole rest of my life, or I could do something about it,” she said. Her mom’s motivation helped her realize that she could make her own future.


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This husband and wife team began their military careers in active duty before joining the Guard. After meeting while in the Army, they married and now have two kids. Both have overcome personal struggles by finding strength in each other and encouragement in the community they serve.

“If we weren’t running this gym, it would break both of our hearts.”

A Sanctuary of Service Kennedy and Collins serve not only our country, but our community as well. As owners of the gym Body Shop Training, they see their business as just another way to serve the community. “The best thing about running a gym is that we get to help people,” Kennedy said. “We get to help people reach goals.” They opened the gym in September 2011 to the military, police and firefighters. Their initial drive to open the gym was so those who had a fitness requirement for their job skill had a space to work out so they could do their jobs better. However, they opened the gym to everyone a month later.


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The people who work out here encourage each other and celebrate other’s successes. “Every single day something awesome happens,” Collins said. She works at the gym full time during the week and Kennedy helps out as a trainer as well. He described his work at the gym as being able to help people in a tangible, human way. “Like when someone does a pull-up for the first time, or like the day a girl climbed the rope for the first time on her own – it gets you stoked,” he said. Likewise, the best part of Collins’ day is helping other people feel good about themselves.

The gym serves as a sanctuary for Kennedy and Collins, a place where they can dedicate their time to improving the lives of other people, and their own lives, by encouraging fitness and goal-setting. “Deployments leave you in kind of a tornado afterwards, so you know you’re going to have to reset yourself afterwards because you’re never the same,” Kennedy explained. “For me it always revolved around becoming physically capable again, and that always helped my mental health tenfold.” This perspective drives his desire to help others improve their mental health by improving their physical health. “If we weren’t running this gym, it would break both of our hearts,” he said.


PADDLE BOARDING Paddle boarding is becoming one of the area’s biggest sports. It’s a great way to enjoy the lakes and BONUS! it’s a killer core workout too!

By Candice Grimm

. Photos by Alison Smith

We met up with Ben Magnuson (left), owner of SOL Surf Co. in Detroit Lakes, MN, and Nate Benson (right), manager and lead paddle board instructor at SOL, to get the 411 on how to paddle board.

Step 1


Adjust the paddle to your correct height. Extend your arm above your head. The handle of the paddle should be just as tall at the bottom of your palm.

Step 3 Step 2


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Place the board in the water. Line your knees along the center handle of the board shoulder width apart. The board’s center is the most stable spot.

While kneeling, push off into the water with your paddle. Until you get a feel for the board and water, stay kneeling while you paddle on the lake.

And voilá!

Step 7 To turn, start with your paddle at the back of your board. Drag your paddle towards the front of the board using a “C” stroke. There are a variety of ways to turn on a paddle board but this is the best for beginners.

Those are the secrets to becoming a paddle boarding pro. Kneeling or standing, once you've conquered the ability to stay on your paddle board, paddle and turn, the workout can begin! Who knew sculpting a six pack could be so easy and fun? If you’re really up for a challenge, try a little paddle board yoga.

Step 6 To paddle, keep your arms locked. Push your body weight down into the water to move forward. The slight twist of the abs works your core and obliques to the max.

Step 5 Once standing on the board, stand with feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in your knees at the board’s center. The wider the stance you have on the board, the more stability and control you will have.

Step 4 Once you feel comfortable, assume an almost push-up position and replace where your knees were with your feet to stand.

SOL Surf Co.

102 W Lake Drive, Detroit Lakes, MN 218-850-1542 Stride • August 2013







with the

Karla Chandler

By Kylee Seifert

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

Seven years after an almost fatal horse accident... Karla Chandler is healthier and more fit than she has ever been. Her strength and determination brought back her energy, health and love for the life she is blessed with.


Stride • August 2013

“I had a lot of broken ribs, only part of a liver, a bruised lung full of fluid, a right arm that had felt like it was on backwards and over half of the blood in my body unaccounted for,” explained Chandler about her injuries.

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s a young, energetic woman, with a love for horses, a successful painting business, a wonderful family and a farm to help run, Chandler rarely took time to slow down and just enjoy the quiet moments in life. “I believe things happen for a reason. When I was painting, I never turned down a job, I would get up early and work late at night, I have a wonderful family that I didn’t see much of… there was work to get done and money to be made,” she explained. The events of May 30, 2006 would force Karla to slow down and reevaluate where she put her time and energy.


The Accident Karla and her friend were trying to see if there was a way to tame a horse she had recently brought to the farm. After asking him to “walk ahead,” he aggressively bucked Chandler off. She came down landing on his head which caused him to throw her to the ground completely. Paralyzed by pain, she lay helplessly on the ground directly under where he would then come down. While she remained conscious the entire time, she was incapable of moving. “He broke about four or five ribs in multiple places and nearly exploded my liver. I felt like a garden hose was turned on inside of me… and that was my blood.” After six days in the ICU, totalling eight days in the hospital, Chandler was released and began her determined journey for a quick recovery. Aside from beginning to move, she focused on eating to heal. She ate foods that were highly nutritious to get her strength and energy back. She did her research to learn how to heal her body through putting in good, healing foods. Since 2006, she has fully healed and now has found her joy in CrossFit, spending time with her loving and supportive family and being her “husband’s full time partner.” Between fueling her body with nutritional and beneficial items and spending a decent amount of time at the gym, she has managed to come back from her terrifying accident stronger mentally, physically and emotionally.


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Nutrition Tips • Eat your greens. • Eat 30 percent of your diet raw. • Eat grass-fed and finished meats. • Take your fish oil every day. • I eat about 80 percent paleo.

Fitness Tips • “Keep moving. Meet friends at the gym so you look forward to coming back. Try new adventures and don’t be afraid to try something new or lift something heavy.” • “Give it your all! If you’re having a sluggish day, don’t punish yourself. Just be sure to get up the next day and kick ass! I never lay on the floor and rest after a workout. I know what it’s like not being able to get up and I won’t do that if I’m able to.”

Inverted Sit Ups


Hold onto a hanging parallel bar as you lift your legs up over the front of the bar. Grip the bar with the underside of your knees. Slowly let go of the bar and let your body hang upside down vertically with your arms crossed in front of your chest.

Exhale as you pull your body up until your elbows touch your knees.



Inhale as you lower your body back to the starting position in a controlled manner.

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Stride - Aug. 2013  

Our "Service Issue" focuses on some local heroes and different inspirational stories we found within the Fargo-Moorhead community.