Sometimes it’s nice to be recognized for a job well done.

That’s how Rick Fargo feels about his receipt of Brainerd’s Community Member of the Month award.

“Like any award, quite frankly it’s nice to know that you are recognized that you’re doing something,” he said during an interview Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Progressive Property Management office.

Whereas some people only seemed to get involved in city or community affairs when something negatively affects them, Fargo, 72, said he has always tried to be an active community member, no matter what’s going on.

“If you’re going to complain about something, I guess my feeling is ‘get involved’ and do something about it,” he said.

And that’s just what Fargo has done for the nearly 40 years that he’s lived in Brainerd.

His commitment to the lakes area started in 1978, when he moved from the Twin Cities to a property on Clark Lake and joined the Nisswa Jaycees.

He officially moved to Brainerd two years later and hasn’t had a whole lot of free time since.

Fargo owns the rental business Progressive Property Management, but describes himself as “semi-retired,” as his son, Matt, now manages the business.

Through his ownership of Progressive and previous post as property manager at the Northern Pacific Center, Fargo has been involved in various rental property owners organizations throughout the area and formerly served on the Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

His involvement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Section 8 program eventually led to a conflict of interest in serving on the HRA, so he stepped down after five years. He still serves on the city’s rental housing board of appeals and until recently was a charter commission member as well.

His recent move outside the city of Brainerd to a family house on Round Lake, though, made him ineligible for the charter commission.

He hopes somebody -- or bodies -- will step up to join the commission, as right now there are only three of the required seven members, meaning the group is not able to meet.

Fargo served on the steering committee for the city’s recent comprehensive plan rewrite, has participated in Brainerd History Week since the event started several years ago and is involved with Lutheran Social Services’ Hope Housing program.

Rick Fargo in the Progressive Property Management office Wednesday, Oct. 9. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch
Rick Fargo in the Progressive Property Management office Wednesday, Oct. 9. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

Past endeavors include the former Paul Bunyan Festival at Brainerd International Raceway, the 1993 Governor’s Fishing Opener, a past crime prevention committee through the chamber of commerce, along with a plethora of other organizations and programs throughout the past four decades.

“One way or another, it affects me, it affects my family,” Fargo said of why he has always stayed involved in his community.

Sometimes viewed as devil’s advocate on various committees or commissions, Fargo said he often likes to make sure projects have a backup plan or that people are thinking of all sides of an issue.

“People would think I was negative, is how it was coming across, but you have to look at all sides,” he said.

When presenting Fargo with his Community Member of the Month award during the city council meeting Monday, Oct. 7, Mayor Ed Menk thanked Fargo for all his good work with rental properties and rental code enforcement in Brainerd over the years.

Community involvement like his is something Fargo, again, stressed everyone should take on.

“If you want to be a part of the community, then you should participate,” he said. “Participate in things -- the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Nominate a community member

To nominate someone in Brainerd as Community Member of the Month, fill out a nomination form at or visit Brainerd City Hall.

Nominations will be kept in rotation for the next month if a nominee is not chosen right away.