The Long Way Back Home

Leslie & Dan Kirscht with their daughters Ella & Sarah

Leslie & Dan Kirscht with their daughters Ella & Sarah

By Brenan Chase

Whenever Dan Kirscht visited Alexandria with his wife Leslie and their two daughters, the backroads were always taken. The sights were always shown, and reminiscing always took place.  

"We'd go to one area of town, and I'd tell Leslie a memory, and then we'd find another spot that would make me think of another memory," Dan says.  

Leslie, originally from Rice, Minnesota, heard both new and often repeated stories about the "Birthplace of America," as Alexandria is proclaimed. "Every time we visited, Dan would give me the tour." 

Talking about these memories when coming to Alexandria always made Dan and his family discuss the idea of coming back. The Kirscht's felt "out of balance," with life in the Twin Cities, and they wanted to find an area where they could unwind.  

Luckily, opportunity struck in Alexandria. 

Both Leslie and Dan were able to find jobs in the area, and they decided to take the chance on living wide open this past year.  

Dan is now the Director of Planning and Customer Logistics at Donnelly Custom Manufacturing, and Leslie is a Physician's Assistant in the Internal Medicine group at Alexandria Clinic. On top of busy work schedules and raising their two daughters, Ella (4) and Sarah (2), Dan and Leslie find time to enjoy the area.  

Leslie has Tuesdays off from the clinic, which means it’s always a "Tuesday adventure" with her daughters. From the parks to the farmers market to the next adventure spot, the days are never dull. 

Living in the area has also been beneficial for being close to other family members. Dan has been able to spend more time with his brothers and parents since moving to the area, and Leslie is only a short one-hour drive from her relatives.  

The Kirscht's also have a cabin on Lake Darling, which Dan's family has rented out since he was young. The cabin provides the perfect, short getaway from the work week. "Taking our daughters to the cabin where I played as a child is a very fun experience."   

To the Kirscht's, the phrase "Live Wide Open" means "embracing the area," and finding "space, ease of mind, and getting away from busy city life." Dan pointed out that the further from the tallest building, the more at ease he is.   

Moving back home has brought back many memories for Dan, and it is allowing him to make new ones with his family as they grow in Alexandria.  

Ella & Sarah watching a jet ski on Lake Darling in Alexandria

Ella & Sarah watching a jet ski on Lake Darling in Alexandria