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Forum and wire reports, Published August 31 2010

Former Fergus Falls resident killed in Afghanistan

SAUK CITY, Wis. – A Wisconsin solder with ties to Fergus Falls, Minn., and Fargo has died while serving in Afghanistan.

Pvt. Adam Novak, 20, Prairie du Sac, Wis., was killed Friday in the Dzardan district of Afghanistan, the Defense Department said. He had been serving in the 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Ky.

The military said Novak was one of two soldiers killed when insurgents attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. The other was Pfc. Chad D. Coleman, 20, of Moreland, Ga.

Novak was a 2008 graduate of Sauk Prairie High School. Novak and his family had lived in Fergus Falls, Minn., for about 11 years before moving back to Wisconsin in 2008, said family friend Sandy Richards of Fergus Falls.

Funeral arrangements are pending the investigation and the release of Novak’s remains.

Novak is survived by his wife, Celeste Steussy Novak, a 2008 Fargo South High School graduate and recent employee of Fargo Public Schools.

He’s also survived by his mother, Sue Block, of Prairie du Sac, two sisters and two brothers. One of his brothers is serving in Afghanistan.

Novak has other in-laws who live in the Fargo area, according to the funeral home.

Richards said Adam had a lot of connections in Fergus Falls, in part because he was involved in Boy Scouts and played soccer in the northwestern Minnesota town.

“He was a very kind, loving boy,” Richards said. “He always thought of others, always.”

After taking a year off, Adam enlisted in the Army. He was “really pumped about it and proud to do it,” Richards said. His brother Logan joined shortly afterward.

He met his future wife while completing his basic training. They got married in March, surprising his family, Richards said. They had planned to hold a formal wedding ceremony in November when Novak was scheduled to return to Wisconsin.

“He was very respectful,” said Richards, who said she drove all night to visit Novak’s mother in Wisconsin after the family was notified of his death. “He’s the kind of person you want for a best friend.”