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The night shift

Lori Schloeder Gress

Not everyone works a nine to five job. Some business are open 24/7 and some services are also necessary to maintain 24 hours a day and seven days a week.  Police officers and paramedics are two professions that require staffing at all times.  A couple of young men from Wadena recently hit the airwaves for their work on the night shift.  Both Chris and Brent are terrific examples of guys that have made Wadena proud.

Christopher Neu, son of Gary and Muriel Neu, graduated from WDC in 2002.   In those days, he was only called Christopher by his mother…everyone else called him Neu – now pronounced Neweeee.  Neu was an above average student, loved to play in the band and was well liked by literally everyone – good guy.  He participated in lots of Immanuel Lutheran Church activities as well. Neu went on to NDSU to study zoology/chemistry and to play in the coveted Gold Star Marching Band. He then continued his education to become a paramedic with Bismarck State/FM Ambulance in 2007.  He has been employed as a paramedic with FM Ambulance since that time.

Brent Malone, son of Dick and Jane Malone, graduated from WDC in 2006.  Malone was an above average student as well – played sports: football, basketball and track.  He played trumpet in the band too.  He loved to paintball, hunt, fish and about anything else outdoors.  He was the youngest of the Malone kids, so had lots of nieces and nephews that watched him throughout his highschool years.  Malone went on to NDSU for criminal justice with accounting, psychology and fraud examination.  He backtracked to Alex Tech for skills training for law enforcement.   He was hired by the Fargo Police Department in July of 2012 and was a 2012 Lifesaving Recipient. Malone is also a crime scene investigator, bike officer and crisis intervention team member for the Fargo Police Department.

Malone made unwanted news earlier this year for arresting a shoplifter in an adult book store.  However, this time, he was responding to a tip of a suspect who had allegedly injured a 20-year old male with a knife and fists the night before. The victim in that assault was transported to Sanford Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Malone and his partner had received a tip that the suspect, Jack Christensen, 49, was at a laundromat in north Fargo on Monday, Nov. 4.  When officers (including Malone) started to approach his van parked in a dark parking lot, Christensen put the vehicle into gear and accelerated at a high rate striking Malone, according to Fargo Lt. Joel Vettel.  Malone was taken by ambulance to Sanford Health where he was treated for injuries to his left arm and wrist.

These two young men from Wadena have caught a glimpse of each other in passing over the past couple years, but they haven’t ever connected more than brief conversations.  It just so happens that the paramedic responding to the call of an officer in need of medical assistance was Neu.  According to Malone, he was face down in the dirt and he heard a familiar voice and was relieved to know it would be Neu taking care of him.  It is the same relief Neu would have if Malone was watching out for him at a scene as well.  We take care of our own and more.

It is the same relief that I have living in the Fargo-Moorhead area that both Neu and Malone are keeping a watch out for all of us during the night shift, and even sometimes during the day shift. It is a story worth sharing about the good things that men from Wadena have done with their lives and how proud we are that they call Wadena home.

Malone’s fellow officers did get their man; officers arrested Christensen at an apartment in the 1300 block of Eighth Avenue North about 4 a.m. Tuesday.  Police had located Christensen there about two hours earlier, and Christensen surrendered following a standoff resolved through negotiations. Vettel said police believe Christensen was the driver of a van that struck Officer Malone in the parking lot of Busy Bubbles laundry, 2102 12th St. N., about 8 p.m. Monday.  Christensen has a number of convictions in Cass County District Court extending back to the early 1990s, including convictions for robbery; simple assault; unauthorized use of a vehicle; terrorizing; and harassment.