Apr. 4—LISMORE — Many young men from rural communities such as this desire to one day travel a million miles away from home.
Troy Veld went two blocks.
"Yep," Troy says with a grin. "And that's just fine by me."
Troy and his younger brother, Todd, are owners of Lismore's Veld Lumber Co. They are businessmen committed to their hometown and a family that's been a fabric of this small Nobles County village for decades.
The Veld boys are living a lumberyard legacy — and Lismore is the better for it.
"It's all good," Troy says. "I've worked here and been here all my life. That's what I always wanted."
Troy, 50, and Todd, 47, are two of four sons from a family nurtured by Darwin and Lois Veld. Darwin grew up in Chandler and after a tour of duty in Vietnam opened his lumberyard in Lismore.
That was in 1975.
The business is still thriving, through thick and thin.
"Dad was in the Seabees and the Navy and was in Vietnam," Troys says. "He started this business because it was close to home. He was working here every day, right up until the day he got too sick and we took him to Sioux Falls. He was here that same day."
Darwin passed away in September at age 72, from complications of leukemia and COVID-19.
"Dad was a good guy," Troy says. "Very active in a lot of things. When he passed away he was still commander of the American Legion post."
Darwin was a school board member. He served on Lismore's coop telephone board, and was honored by several regional lumberyard associations.
There are perhaps a dozen active businesses these days in Lismore, a 120-year-old town of about 250 that includes two churches. Ken Leinen owns Leinen Cabinets in Lismore. The Fulda native has been in business here for about 30 years and knows the Veld brothers well.
"They're a great asset for the community," Leinen says.
He says the lumberyard has been a resource for his cabinet business.
"They're good about getting materials and getting them as quickly as possible," Leinen says. "And if something goes wrong, they'll fix it.
"They're always busy selling materials for farm buildings or new homes. They're quite the asset for the town."
Along with being good guys.
"They sure are," Leinen says.
The brothers work together on most aspects of the business. Todd lives a few minutes away in Brandon, S.D., and commutes to work. Troy and his wife, Cindy, live just a few blocks away from where he grew up and his mother Lois still resides.
Anything bad about that?
"Honest to God," Troy smiles. "Nothing I can think of. There are good people here."
"But the problem is, I don't know anything different," he says. "This is the only place I've lived."
And the only place he's ever WANTED to live.
Lismore is a pleasant village, with clean streets and homes that feature well-kept yards. On a late afternoon day a few weeks ago the breeze is gentle and a warm sun to the west casts warmth across the southwest Minnesota prairie.
The setting is worthy of a Norman Rockwell scene.
But no town is without heartaches. The Veld family knows it only too well.
Darwin Veld's passing last fall was tough on the town and, especially, his family. Troy smiles slightly at the suggestion.
He sets his jaw firmly and with a soft voice relates another family tragedy.
"My wife and I have four kids," he says. "My oldest, Tyler, was killed in a snowmobile accident."
That was about 15 years ago when Tyler was 13, an eighth-grader. He now rests near his grandfather Darwin in the Lismore cemetery just east of town.
"In fact, his birthday would have been yesterday," Troy says quietly.
He pauses for a moment.
"You have to move on," Troy says. "That's all you can do."
Troy and Cindy have two daughters and a son, Mitchell. Is it possible Mitch might one day move back and extend the Veld lumberyard legacy to a third generation?
"Maybe," Troy smiles. "I wouldn't be surprised."
Neither would the little village of Lismore. After all, the Velds have been advocates for this community for nearly 50 years.
"I never ever really thought about leaving," Troy says. "There's something in my heart that's always brought me back here."