Minnesota bank helps indigenous veterans overcome transportation challenges

Stearns Bank, St. Cloud, Minn., donated $108,000 to Wounded Warriors Family Support. The money will be used to help Native American veterans who live in remote reservations access medical clinics.

Native American veterans typically have to travel great distances to get proper health care, said WWFS founder John Folsom in a news release, but they don’t have a reliable way to get there. The bank’s donation will help fund transportation, Folsom said.

Stearns Bank’s contribution came in the wake of its Veteran’s Day initiative in November.  “Stearns Salute” donated all loan, packaging and documentation fees collected from borrowers in the week leading up to Nov. 11.

But the bank’s support for veterans isn’t limited to that one week. Year-round, the $2 billion bank waives 100 percent of packaging fees on SBA loans for veteran business owners nationwide.

The bank’s CEO, Norman Skalicky, is a veteran himself. After participating in the ROTC program at the University of North Dakota, Skalicky served actively in the Army from 1956-1958 and in the Reserves for more than 15 years.

“We are proud to support and recognize the many men and women who serve our country,” Skalicky said. “We honor their dedication and sacrifices, and Stearns bank will continue to do all we can to support veterans and their families.”

Stearns Bank is a Minnesota-based, independently owned bank that serves more than 33,000 small business customers nationwide.

A company spokesperson said it was important that the donation went to a responsible organization that uses its funds to help those in need and is committed to honoring the country’s veterans.

WWFS, Folsom said, is grateful for the bank’s support. “This generous contribution goes a long way toward helping our organization execute on our mission. Not only is this financial support critical for our organization’s ongoing efforts, this act of kindness has a positive emotional impact on the families we serve at a time when they need it most.”