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His interests include law enforcement and acting

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You may recognize Craig Friday as the man in uniform patrolling Pequot Lakes High School sporting events as captain of the Pequot Lakes Police Reserve.

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Or maybe he’s a familiar face at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, where he works in guest services.

Still others may know Craig as Mr. Beaver, his character from the most recent Pequot Lakes Community Theatre play, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

He’s a man with many interests and talents, all of which benefit the lakes area.

Craig grew up in Anoka and lived in the Twin Cities area until just nine years ago.

“We came up to this area because I spent seven years with Dish Network and they were opening an office in the Brainerd area,” he said.

“We” refers to Craig and his wife, Julie, whom he met in late 1993 when both drove school bus for the same company in Champlin, and their son, Jack, who turns 16 this month.

The Fridays moved to Crosslake in September 2004 from Princeton, and it didn’t take long for them to immerse themselves in the community. Craig currently works at Grand View, and Julie has worked with the Pequot Lakes School District’s Early Childhood Family Education program since 2005. Jack attends Pequot Lakes High School.

What has kept the family from returning to the Cities?

“We don’t have the hectic pace of the Cities,” Craig said. “It’s a slower paced lifestyle and we’ve made lots of friends.”

Just because he left the Twin Cities doesn’t mean he left his interests behind. Craig worked with a police reserve unit in the Cities, and in 2006 he helped form such a unit with the Pequot Lakes Police Department. A former firefighter for 15 years and current first responder, Craig enjoys public safety work but has never desired to be a professional law enforcement officer.

“It’s a way of being involved with the police department,” he said of his reserve duties. “I’ve been in public safety in one form or another.

“I enjoy getting out and interacting with the community and business owners,” he said. “I assist the police department so officers can do what they need to.”

Craig is also on the Pequot Lakes Community Theatre board, and all the Fridays have become actors, thanks to Jack.

“He got us started,” Craig said. “He had started out with ‘Peter Pan’ a few years ago and he was in the school production ‘The Giver.’”

Craig started acting, appearing in “Arsenic and Old Lace” in Pequot Lakes and with Jack in “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.

This past spring, all three Fridays had a role in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” in Pequot Lakes.

“Julie saw how much fun we were having and decided to audition with us for ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’” Craig said, “and we ended up being Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. It’s fun.”

Rehearsal schedules can be grueling, but it’s worth it in the end, he said.

In between working, his police reserve duties and acting, Craig is a Central Lakes College student.

“Fifteen years ago I started a business management degree,” he said, noting that through life’s twists and turns he never obtained the degree.

He decided to go back to school and should graduate in a year with that degree.

In any spare time, Craig enjoys spending time with his family. He also has a daughter who just finished her sophomore year at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and is an intern at Sea World, and two stepchildren in their 30s who live in the Twin Cities.

The Fridays enjoy bike rides and trips to Duluth and the Twin Cities. In addition to acting together, they occasionally volunteer at the Crosslake Area Historical Society’s Log Village.

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