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Veterans Community Thrift Store in Hibbing Donates $10,000 to Silver Bay Veterans Home

Steve McCarthy

St. Paul, Minn. – Minnesota Veterans Homes – Silver Bay was delighted to accept a generous $10,000 donation from the Veterans Community Thrift Store (VCTS) located in Hibbing. This donation will be used to pur­chase a van to help transport Veterans Home Residents to events and other social and lei­sure activities in the community.

The dream of a VCTS began in 2016 with three Veteran friends: Larry Pocrnich, Army, a medically retired Iron Range police of­ficer; Bill Bean, Navy, a former Veterans Service Officer; and Bob Fluguear, Marine, Iron Range miner, now deceased. They ap­proached the Hibbing-based Salvation Ar­my-run thrift store with an offer to purchase its local operations and physical space, con­tinue to run and grow the business, and ulti­mately direct all profits to Veteran specific causes. The community responded positively to this idea; in fact, just one year into their work, the VCTS outgrew its location and moved to its current (larger) site located at 2003 First Avenue North in Hibbing.

Robust ongoing donations of clothing, fur­niture, books, kitchenware, seasonable prod­ucts, etc. take a good amount of behind-the-scenes time to sort, price and display. VCTS is open one week each month to accept dona­tions. The next opportunity to donate is the week of February 19. According to Pocrnich, the more successful the sales, the more VCTS can consistently donate to organizations like the Silver Bay Veterans Home.

Pocrnich has a long-term relationship with the Home. In 2010, he was the American Le­gion (AL) Commander in the 8th District. Over the years, he visited the Home for regu­lar chats with Veterans and bingo games. He also made the Home’s wood shop and craft room improvement efforts his AL special project and donated tools as well. A long-time mem­ber of Post 222 in Hibbing, he says the Home warms his heart. “When it’s my time (to need skilled nursing care), I’ve already got an idea of what wing I want to live in here.”

Randall Walz, the Veterans Home’s Pub­lic Affairs Coordinator, has known Pocrnich for years. “From the American Legion to the VFW, Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and many other Veterans groups, Larry has an unwav­ering commitment to serving our nation’s he­roes. And the VCTS he helped co-found gets amazing support from individuals in our Ar­rowhead Region. They know about the care we provide, especially our niche in dementia care. Their support of VCTS’ work allows VCTS to support our work.”

Silver Bay Veterans Home Administrator Dani Donner notes that Hibbing is her home ­town. “I’m proud of Hibbing’s—and the sur­rounding area’s—kindness and desire to en­sure our Veterans live their best possible lives with us. I’m also so thankful for the generos­ity of the VCTS Board of Directors. We look forward to continuing to partner with them on future projects.”

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