Tater Tot Hot Dish
Redemption is something I believe in wholeheartedly. My favorite book is A Christmas Carol (like I said here, I’m a book nerd) which shows Scrooge’s journey toward redemption with the not-so-gentle nudging of the three spirits. My sobriety was my personal second chance to turn my life around. So when I was spending some time in Fargo ND last summer and read about the local F5 Project, it resonated. I wanted to know more.
Going into the conversation with The F5 Project’s Adam Martin and Ricky Pallay, I knew it was going to be interesting.
What I didn’t know is that fried cheesy pickles, the formerly incarcerated as entrepreneurs, and doner kebabs would all be part of that chat! All this and so much more in “Tater Tot Hotdish”, Episode 62 of the Something About Food? Podcast.
Adam Martin is not your typical entrepreneur, business owner, and non-profit founder. He’s dedicated his life to making sure Felons get a fair shot at theirs. If you were to look into Adam’s background, you would find a lengthy trail of breadcrumbs that would lead you to the community-driven man he is today. Five felonies, multiple misdemeanors, and too many infractions to speak of. A career criminal, a trouble maker, and a nuisance. That is, until a few business leaders, mentors, and friends saw potential instead of a criminal record. They saw someone who had Hustle and humility, instead of a risky person to be associated with.
Named after the F5 “reset” button on a computer, it reminds us all “hit the reset” when we think about people with a criminal background. That button is a powerful tool and an inspirational mentality. Adam founded F5 Project in 2016 after he was asked to be the keynote speaker for the United Way fundraising campaign in Fargo, ND. Through his personal story of homelessness, moving from job to job, criminal activities, and being a “product of the system,” he had first-hand knowledge of gaps when it came to services offered by local communities for people wanting to make a positive change in their lives. Especially when it came to people transitioning from incarceration.
Adam is doing everything he can to ensure that felons get a fair shake. F5 Project is in 5 cities over 2 states and looks to continue the mission of helping felons across the United States. Changing the world’s perception of Felons, one day at a time.
Ricky Pallay is the Operations Director of the F5 Project, where he supports the staff, volunteers, and any day-to-day needs of the organization. Rickyʼs greatest fulfillment is his service to others. He believes community service and volunteerism is the foundation which makes every community richer and more fortunate. Outside of F5 Project, he leads a team of Connectors at Prairie Heights Community Church and helps with sorting and stocking at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store.
Ricky has a unique perspective on recovery and advocates for further development of mental and behavioral health issue programs, a passion developed by his own personal fight with compulsive gambling. Entering a recovery program in February 2018 and continued, active participation in an anonymous organization which supports those striving to recover from gambling, has helped him turn his life around completely. Ricky is also a trained Peer Support Specialist, which enhances his lived experience with recovery. This training has surged his confidence and given him skills to make better choices, live productively, and help his peers who still suffer in addiction and mental health issues do the same. He has the innate talent to connect and build genuine relationships and is excited to be a part of the growth F5 Project continues to achieve.
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