I grew up in Milaca working on the family farm, where my parents taught me the value of hard work, the importance of being a good neighbor, and the wisdom that although we each must take responsibility for our own lives, we are all interconnected and dependent on one another. When a piece of equipment broke down in the midst of a long day of planting corn or soybeans, we turned to others to assist. We needed a local cooperative to market our crops, and a safety net to catch us when prices tumbled or the weather destroyed what we had worked so hard to grow.
I attended Milaca public schools until 10th grade when I enrolled at the University of Minnesota through the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program and took part-time classes at Champlin Park High School, where I graduated from in 1998. I worked at the local restaurant, MJ’s in Milaca, starting at age 15, until I went on to the University of North Dakota. After a year, I moved back home and started working at Fingerhut in Mora. When the plant shut down, I enrolled in the Minnesota Dislocated Worker program. Through this program I obtained a CNET associate in science degree, but the IT bubble burst during my last year of school. Unable to find a job in my field, I started working for Dunbar Armored Car for two years, until I was hired at BNSF Railway in 2004. I have been employed by BNSF Railway for 16 years and have spent 12 years as a Union Leader in SMART-TD Local 1000, formerly known as UTU.
My resume is only part of my life, and I would not be the man I am today without my lovely wife, Sherri, my family, and friends. I met my wife Sherri at Little Dukes in Milaca, and I knew almost instantly I wanted to share my life with her. No family is perfect, but I feel mine is awfully close. There is no sacrifice I would not make for my family, and one of my proudest moments was when I donated my kidney to save my cousin’s life. Even now, I am helping my mother as she battles cancer, and I know we can get through anything together.