Vikings legends, local football team bring cheer to Fertile nursing home

Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ed McDaniel and quarterback Tommy Kramer — along with the senior members of the Fertile-Beltrami football team — visited the Fair Meadow Nursing home in Fertile,

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FERTILE, Minn. — From the stars they watched on Sunday for years, to hometown stars who they watched on Friday night this fall, residents at the Fair Meadow Nursing Home in Fertile huddled with their favorite football players Friday afternoon, Dec. 10.

"It was nice, you couldn't ask for anything better, I just love them all," said resident Dorothy Lee.

The seniors on the Fertile-Beltrami Falcons football team stopped by the nursing home after school to personally thank the residents for their support during their historic run to the state title game. While they couldn't make the trip to U.S. Bank Stadium, they would watch the games at the nursing home.

"I have seen a lot of good teams in Fertile, but this might be the best one," said 94-year-old Arnie Hagen, who has lived in Fertile his whole life.

"You gotta come thank them for that, it means the world to us," said tight end Austin Bjerk.


"It was great that they took time out for that, not very many people would, so it was really nice," said Lee.

Saying yes to a special invitation after a long year of COVID-19 restrictions, two former Vikings greats also stopped by the nursing home, linebacker Ed McDaniel and quarterback Tommy Kramer.

"Cheer up their December for them, bring them footballs and pictures and jerseys," said Kramer.

"I really didn't think I'd have the opportunity to do that," said nursing home resident Dean Kittleson.

McDaniel and Kramer also met with the senior football players for a picture and to talk about the students' plans after their graduation in just a few months.

"The only way your going to make it, is what you put into it is what you're going to get out of it," said Kramer.

"Whatever you want to do, go out there and pursue it and work hard and you can dream big," said Fertile-Beltrami quarterback Rylin Petry, elaborating on what advice Kramer gave him.

They even got to talk about the title run with the former Vikings.


"They played in the pros, I'm sure its not insane to them, but it was fun," said Bjerk.

"Something that they will always remember for their lives," said Kramer.

A nursing home in awe of the chance to meet the guys who they watched on Sundays for decades, and at the same time meet the hometown boys who may have fallen one win short of a state title, but will always be champions in Fertile.

"They need to be really proud of their accomplishments," said Kittleson.

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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