There’s more to someone’s life than what gets them in the paper

The Fargo Forum got plenty of pushback earlier this month when it reported the death of a man in a Fargo house fire.

Nickolas Pulicicchio, 38, died in a fire November 30.

“Puliciccio was sentenced to 60 days in jail in 2014 for stealing $60,000 in coins from a UPS shipping center in Fargo. The coins were being sent to Treasure Island Coins for a customer,” the Forum noted at the conclusion of its story about the end of his life.

It’s always been grist for debates in newsrooms. In reporting a person’s death, should someone be defined only by what makes them newsworthy?

“He deserved better, former Glyndon resident Sara Ecklund wrote in one of several letters since the article appeared, “but with a community paper reporting like this, he never stood a chance. You have a responsibility to report the news, and an obligation to consider the impact of what you report.”

There’ve been several like that in recent days, but nothing like the one Duane Keller, of Fargo, wrote that was published this afternoon on the Forum’s website.

On Nov. 30, a Fargo man, Nicholas Pulicicchio, died in a house fire. During Nick’s life, he like all of us, had his strongest moments and his weakest moments. We recently read about his weakest moments in The Forum.

I would like to tell you about a side of Nick that few ever witnessed.

When Nick was 15 years old his mother gave birth to a baby girl. His mother, unfortunately, was severely affected by the disease of alcoholism. Because of this, Becca, her infant/toddler daughter was neglected. Time and time again over the course of four years the police were summoned because little Becca had nothing to eat. Other times little Becca was walking outside alone. Over and over the police were summoned to check on Becca.

Imagine the very difficult, yet powerful decision Nick made to call the police, not once but many times, which he did as he had designated himself as Becca’s protector. Nick loved his mother. Not once do I ever recall Nick making a derogatory remark about his mother.

Nick was Becca’s protector, her big brother. Nick was the guy the who never forgot Becca, even after she was adopted. He would pick her up for many activities as she got older. Nick was Becca’s hero. He made his mistakes. Haven’t we all?

Nick was someone important in Becca’s life. When you are important in the life of a child, you are indeed SOMEBODY. That is how I intend to remember Nick. I hope all of us remember Nick for his strongest moments, not his weakest.

I know these facts as I am the man who adopted Becca.

(h/t: Kari Knudson)