Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.
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FARGO—A Fargo man has quite the remarkable story to tell about survival. It's what he learned in the jungles of Vietnam in the 1970's, that made him such a valuable employee at Lutheran Social Services for nearly three decades. Tri Phan was a high ranking tank commander with the South Vietnamese Army when the U.S. pulled out and the communists from the north took over, promising harmony to the people defeated soldiers in the south.
JAMESTOWN—In Jamestown, patients coming into the Emergency Room, are doing a "double take." We're just days away from Christmas, but one physician has his role down pat; all but the sleigh. Dr. Scott Goecke knew he and his beard were onto something with this whole Santa look alike thing. "It has eased some of the kids, the first time I noticed it, I went into a room of a little girl with her mother and she leaned over to her mom and said 'he does look like Santa Claus," said Dr. Goecke.
METRO—Not many people have "Going to Iraq" on their "to do" list. But a medical mission team from Fargo-Moorhead is back after providing care for Kurdish and Yazidi after ISIS brutally attacked them and took their loved ones. Sanford Urologist Dr. Ted Sawchuk has been on medical mission trips before, but a recent trip to Northern Iraq to help the Kurds and Yazidi people was a life changer. "Those camps there were no men, the men had been captures or killed, and the kids were captured or killed," said Sawchuk.
FARGO—Why did you select the career you are in? Was it money, maybe the challenge? 23-year old Kendal Haverland had that feeling she might end up here. Fresh out of nursing school and passing the boards, she is working Sanford's Neonatal intensive care unit. "In the NICU things can change in the blink of an eye, so you kind of get that adrenaline rush," said Kendal. The NICU has some of the most fragile of patients; complex, premature.
FARGO—Those living with Parkinson's Disease, know the frustration of limited mobility, a weaker voice and difficulty writing. But a unique program called "Big and Loud" has been a game changer for many with the disease, and one one Fargo woman has seen dramatic progress. Georgia Brown did something Thursday, she never imagined possible just a few weeks ago. She sent out Christmas Cards to family. "I am sure it is better writing them out, better to use my hand," said Georgia Brown. She is even writing the addresses on envelopes.
METRO—Area families who lost loved ones during the attack on Pearl Harbor are remembering this day. It was back on Dec. 7 of 1941, that the Japanese waged a surprise strike against the United States. Two families from our region this past year have been touched by that historic event. You may remember it was the family of Arthur Neuenschwander that early last summer received news that his remains had been identified. He was 33, and was a Gunner's Mate on the Battleship Oklahoma.
FARGO—If you are out searching for some holiday spirit or Christmas cheer, you need to meet the students at Fargo's Lewis and Clark Elementary. Just before school starts, and when it ends, Ashlyn Hins and her fellow 3rd graders are all business. Stacy Anderson's Lewis and Clark students have started collecting winter gear to sell at their newly opened store. Signs are everywhere around the school, reminding students to collect new and gently used winter gear and bring them in to the store.
FARGO—A tragedy thousands of miles from here is impacting young orphan girls that are part of a Fargo based charity. You may recall the award-winning WDAY documentary: Orphans of the Nile. Fargo's "African Soul, American Heart" organization works to rescue orphan girls from war-torn South Sudan, and educate them in Uganda, just across the border. But over the weekend, armed cattle wranglers in South Sudan torched the village where many of the orphan girls are from. Forty people, including many of their relatives, were abducted and killed.
CASS COUNTY, N.D. — Paul Vogel says he hopes he feels the spirit of Christmas again. This, after a Grinch cut down a much-loved spruce tree this week at the entrance to his farm north of Fargo.
DETROIT LAKES—The priest at Holy Rosary Catholic Church comes from a small village in Uganda. All it took was a simple sermon, and members of the church are now preparing to change that village by bringing the first water wells ever there. As members of Holy Rosary celebrated Mass at their Detroit Lakes church Wednesday, plans began to take shape for the congregation to put into practice, the promise to help others. It all started here one day, when their priest, Uganda native Father Andrew Obel read the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well.