After graduating from Falls High School in 2005, Emily (Halla) Gedde had little interest in returning to International Falls permanently.
After meeting her now husband, Mike, at Bemidji State University, the couple planned to make their home in the Bemidji area.
“I always enjoyed coming back to visit the Falls, but didn’t know if I’d be able to make a permanent life here,” Emily said.
After achieving a mass communications degree from BSU with an emphasis in journalism, Emily landed a job as a reporter for The American – a newspaper in Blackduck. Mike was still attending school to earn his degree in construction management.
Shortly after the couple welcomed their first child, Rena, in 2009, The Journal in International Falls contacted Emily about an open position as a reporter. Temptation to raise a family in her hometown was too much to ignore and she interviewed for the job.
“All of a sudden, all I wanted to do was move back home,” Emily said. “Mike was still in school and we needed to take advantage of the opportunity to benefit our family.”
Emily was offered and accepted the job and the couple made plans to move to Borderland. Originally, they planned to rent a house or apartment, but decided on something more permanent and purchased a house from one of Emily’s new co-workers.
Closing on the house brought excitement and uncertainty. Mike was close to graduating with a degree in construction management, but had no leads on any local jobs.
“We couldn’t just pick up and leave if he didn’t get a job here,” Emily said. “We just bought a house.”
Luckily, he was offered a job at Menards, where he worked for a little over a year.
“It was shift work, so the hours were never consistent,” Mike said. “It made spending time with my family a little more of a challenge, but we made it work.”
In 2012, he was hired as a project manager for Up North Builders.
“I was so fortunate to land a job in my field,” Mike said.
The last four years have given Mike a lot of experience which he will apply to a new position he recently accepted with the Koochiching County Highway Department.
“We’re excited for new opportunities,” Emily said. “I couldn’t imagine living and raising a family anywhere else.”
The couple expanded their family in 2014 with another daughter, Ruby. Rena, who recently graduated kindergarten, attends school at Falls Elementary and is enrolled in the Dancin with Darcie program.
“We love our life in Borderland,” Emily said. “We’ve come so far since we moved back in 2009. We had our share of struggles as a young family in International Falls, but we worked through everything to get where we are now. We love this area and see ourselves here for a long, long time.”