Rad Dad Logan McConnell appreciates the gift of flexibility to be with his kids
The Fargo firefighter is also working toward another degree while raising 3 kids with his wife, Amy
Logan McConnell is the son and grandson of Bismarck firefighters, yet he never envisioned that for his own life. But then during his senior year of high school, he was assigned to write a paper about what path he would choose after graduating.
“We had to interview someone, so I talked to my dad, and the more I researched it and the more I compared anything else to firefighting, it just made sense (to become a firefighter),” Logan explained.
After graduating from high school, Logan moved around a little before settling in Fargo nine years ago. He enrolled at Minnesota State Community and Technical College to begin firefighter training.
Meanwhile, he met a woman named Amy online and after talking for a while, they met up and played catch for their first date. By August 2018, Logan was prepared to ask Amy to marry him, and he was able to propose to her during family photos with her family. “That was a fun experience,” he recalled.
They opted to get married in a small courthouse ceremony to expedite Logan’s adoption of Amy’s young daughter Naomi. The adoption was finalized on Oct. 2, 2019, and the couple celebrated their wedding and the adoption three days later at a delayed reception.
In addition to becoming a father to Naomi, Logan and Amy welcomed their first son Wesley “Wes” in May 2019. Shortly after Christmas that year, Logan received a call from the Fargo Fire Department that he’d been hired as a firefighter for their recruiting class but would still need to undergo some additional testing and checks. A week later Amy discovered she was pregnant with their third child.
In early March 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic began, Logan began work as a Fargo firefighter. “That was a weird time to start, but I didn’t know any different,” Logan said. The biggest issue for firefighters during the pandemic was the additional equipment needed–eye protection, N95 masks, face shields, surgical gowns, etc.
“God bless Amy…with me going through a recruiting class, being pregnant and COVID happening…” Logan remembered. That September, Logan and Amy welcomed their son River.
With Logan’s shift schedule and Amy’s work as an office manager and studio assistant for a local photographer, they have a pretty flexible schedule that allows them to be with their children while the other is at work. “It’s a blessing,” he said. “I know not everyone gets that opportunity to spend that much time with their kids.”
Even with his busy job and active home life, Logan recently completed an associate’s degree in fire science and is now working to finish his bachelor’s degree in fire administration with a concentration in fire investigations. He was kind enough to carve out a little time in his schedule to answer some questions about what makes him a Rad Dad.
Who was a superhero to you when you were a kid?
I've been very thankful to have many positive role models in my life. The male role models who were superheroes to me then and are still now would be my father and both of my grandfathers. Their "powers" that I noticed then are so much more important to me now. My father has a fantastic work ethic and is constantly working on something and doing it to the best of his ability. My maternal grandfather is incredibly wise and always has words that are affirming for any given situation. My paternal grandfather has an amazing intellect and a curiosity that keeps him constantly wanting to learn more. Those are all traits that I admired as a kid and see now as their own adult "superpowers".
What's the biggest challenge of being a firefighter?
There are times when the career can deplete most energy and be emotionally taxing as well, and those days can affect the days at home. So I would say it's most difficult to not let those affect how my home life goes, but still find the time to recharge as needed.
Biggest challenge as a dad?
Patience and understanding are probably the bigger things I need to constantly remind myself to better myself in when it comes to parenting. When there are 18 different things going on and we as parents are exhausted and totally overwhelmed, it's important to take a step back and remember what it is like to be our kids' age. They don't understand what we have going on (nor should they), so we need to understand what their needs are.
Have you found any similarities between being a firefighter and a dad?
There are certainly some similarities between the two. Being trusted to do the right thing is prevalent in both, as well as needing to be available at any given moment. Also, some days it seems like the chance of putting out a fire is the same whether I'm at work or home.
How would you describe your parenting style?
Our parenting style consists of clear expectations and open communication. Ideally, when there is conflict I like to hear in their own words what they are feeling and let them know how it was perceived, and hopefully as they gain understanding it works vice versa. I feel that this sets up healthy communication habits for their future.
How has becoming a dad made you a better person?
It has helped me with further understanding responsibility and accountability. Responsibility is pretty much a given for anyone, but accountability is a big one that I found I grew in. If I want my kids to take responsibility for their actions, then I should do the same. It's important to me that they see their dad can admit to them that he made a mistake so they can feel comfortable doing the same.
One word to describe your wife and each of your kids:
What is your favorite thing about your wife?
I love how she keeps balance in our household. While I'm horribly unorganized, she has planners for the next two months. I do dishes, she does laundry. When I'm to the point of utter exhaustion, she is ready to go with whatever needs to be done. And she's super cute.
If you could take your family anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
Grand Tetons National Park is probably my current favorite place on Earth, so I'd like to experience that with all of them.
People might be surprised to learn...
I really enjoy cooking. And doing dishes, but don't tell that to anyone I work with.