Dixie Weese started the Salina Disabled American Veteran’s Thrift Store in 1964. Her daughter, Elaine Weese, grew fond of the store working with her mother. She is now the director of operations and has made vital improvements to the DAV Thrift Store. Elaine Weese is the BANK VI Hero of the Week.
Elaine worked at the DAV Thrift Store throughout high school. Back then, the store was owned by Dixie and a partner. They eventually sold the store to the Salina DAV.
“At that time, they just gave some of the proceeds to the DAVs but now they own it,” Elaine said.
After high school, Elaine left the store to attend college in Ohio. She returned several years later, working at the store before becoming a paralegal in Abilene. She spent the next 14 years as a paralegal, eventually moving to Pennsylvania.
Elaine said she always carried a fondness for the store, so when the director position opened up, she seized the opportunity. She has been the director for about four years now and has been vital to many of the store’s upgrades.
With the help from a very supportive board of directors, since Elaine has taken over, they have painted the building, put a new roof on the building, repaved the parking lot and purchased all new shelves.
“For a place like this, you really have to have a passion for it,” Elaine said. “It can’t just be another job because there is too much at stake for the veterans and the community.”
Elaine said that these improvements would not have been possible without a very supportive board of directors and a dedicated staff.
“I have the most wonderful staff in the world and they make my job so much easier,” Elaine said. “I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to keep a place like this stocked and clean. It’s a big job and my staff is so wonderful.”
Elaine truly lives for the DAV Thrift Store. She arrives everyday for work at 5 a.m. to prepare for its opening at 8:30. she is also known for taking items home at the end of the day to clean them and price them on her own time.
“She goes above and beyond for her store and her employees,” an employee’s wife said. “When not at work she can often be found cleaning jewelry or doing something work related at her personal home… She is a truly amazing woman willing to help anyone and everyone however she can.”
The extra work is needed to keep prices low enough for the people who utilize the store, Elaine added.
When not working, Elaine is active in her church. She also makes the occasional trip back to Pennsylvania to see her children and grandchildren.