Veterans Community Thrift Store in Hibbing donates $10,000 to United Way of NE Minnesota

Donation from Veterans Community Thrift Store to United Way

A $10,000 check donated to the United Way of NE Minnesota will help preserve veterans stories.

A big moment for a big donation to the United Way of NE Minnesota. The Veterans Community Thrift Store in Hibbing brought over a $10,000 check. Leaders are grateful for the shoppers who made this possible.

The money is slotted for the United for Veterans program. And specifically, will go towards Operation: Soldier Story, an oral history project and new component of United for Veterans.

Through the project, local volunteers will be trained to conduct interviews, and UWNEMN will coordinate scheduling interviews, getting them professionally transcribed, and professionally preserving them.

Options include local, state, and national archives as well as future educational purposes including a potential future book project; veterans/servicemembers can also elect their histories be kept private.

Participants will be asked to provide a DD214 or military ID to verify their service; these documents will be kept private with UWNEMN. Local veterans/servicemembers from all branches and all eras are invited to be interviewed.

“Local men and women who served in our armed forces shaped our nation’s history, and their unique perspectives and stories are an important part of our local history,” said UWNEMN Executive Director Erin Shay. “We are honored for this opportunity to preserve those stories the way they deserve to be.”

Operation: Soldier Story was created in partnership with St. Louis County Historical Society (SLCHS)’s Veterans Memorial Hall oral history project and with financial support from Veterans Community Thrift Store in Hibbing.

The project team also includes UWNEMN staff and United for Veterans committee members: U.S. Army Vietnam veterans Bill Hanegmon and Rick Holland as well as Minnesota North College Hibbing Campus History Professor Steve Potts. Hanegmon and Holland have both shared their stories for similar projects and are passionate about encouraging others to do the same; Potts has years of experience collecting oral histories.

SLCHS has been tasked with collecting oral histories of all veterans/servicemembers across St. Louis County and will be training Operation: Soldier Stories volunteers to collect interviews this month.

Once volunteers are trained, veterans/servicemembers interested in being interviewed can contact UWNEMN at any time to schedule an interview at a location of their choosing. Interviews can be recorded on video camera or audio recorder. Interested veterans/servicemembers can also contact UWNEMN now to ensure their interviews are scheduled as soon as volunteers have completed training

Learn more about Operation: Soldier Story at Paper versions of interest forms are available as well; call 218-215-2424 for more information.

The thrift store is open Monday-Friday, 10am-5:30pm. It’s located at 2003 1st Avenue in Hibbing. It’s been open about six years.