Because of Larry Schanno, vets get to go fishing

The Duluth News Tribune’s Sam Cook today makes sure we took notice of the death — or rather: the life — of Larry Schanno, who died this month at age 68, and was noted in a very short obituary.

Schanno built a pond on the Baptism River in Finland and stocked it with brook trout and rainbow trout for one reason: so the old-timers at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay could go fishing.

“I do this to honor my father and for those who served in my place,” Schanno told me that day. “Our mantra is, ‘We do good things for those who have done great things.’ ”

Bobbers plopped into the pond. Bobbers went down. Veterans reeled in trout. Someone was there to net them.

Schanno talked and joked with the vets, but then faded into the background. This was never about him. When it was time, he took his place at a pickup tailgate and began cleaning the day’s catch. The fillets would go back to the vets’ home in Silver Bay for a fish fry.

Schanno’s efforts on behalf of veterans didn’t stop at the pond. Every Wednesday, he’d have a bunch of them up for lunch at Our Place. And during deer season, he would allow some of them to come and hunt — from a heated trailer — on his property in the woods.

Mr. Schanno’s funeral will be held tomorrow.