August 30, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wedding bells are about to be ringing in Marinette, Wisconsin as one local nonprofit gears up to be the place two of its employees say, “I do.” Scott Kopish and Laurie Hinkens will wed September 11, 2021 right in the middle of the sales floor of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Thrift Store in a private ceremony.
According to both of the soon-to-be newlyweds, choosing the location of their nuptials was a no-brainer.
“This place (SVdP) has that feel-good feeling,” Hinkens said. “We come to work with a smile on our face every day. That’s a fact.”
“When I was sent here on a light-duty assignment, I walked in and I instantly felt safe,” Kopish said. “I don’t know how I can explain it. I just felt safe and I thought, you know what? We met here. It would be great to get married in this building. I just thought it meant something.”
Kopish and Hinkens are both long-term employees of SVdP who were both struggling physically prior to starting in their roles. Kopish has been with SVdP for over three years, starting through the Worker’s Compensation program due to an injury as a truck driver. Hinkens started nearly two years ago as a volunteer who had recently received a scary health prognosis.
Hinkens said she felt drawn to Kopish within minutes of meeting him, but wanted to warn him of her medical issues.
“When I saw him for the first time, I got a big smile on my face, and boom,” Hinkens said. “But, I told Scott within the first couple days that I started working that my gastro doctor said I had just one to two years to live.”
While Hinkens was physically struggling when she started with SVdP, a lot has changed since then. Her health has drastically improved, but she looks back on the early days of dating Kopish and how his concern pulled her through the hardest times.
“Other employees would say, ‘Scott’s just so scared for you. He wants to help you. He wants to be with you,’ and I had never felt like that before. Ever,” Hinkens said.
That reassurance from Kopish was a building block for their relationship, even though Hinkens wasn’t the only one who felt reassured in their relationship. Prior to meeting Hinkens, Kopish was leaning on his faith to get him through his difficult times as a single father.
“I remember sitting at the picnic table outside of work and praying to God. I said, “God, send me an angel. Send me somebody who is good for me and my daughter. I will not accept any less,” Kopish said. “And then, boom.”
Despite the grim timeline years ago, Hinkens has been improving physically despite all odds.
“The pancreas that was almost shot is now better,” Kopish said. “That just doesn’t happen with a pancreas.”
Hinkens says that their relationship and both of their belief in God are two of the biggest reasons she has been improving, both mentally and physically.
“We are so far from perfect, but if one of us is down, the other one is up,” Hinkens said. “God has made the relationship like a Lego that fits with another Lego.”
While wedding planning can be stressful, the couple said the process has been easier than they imagined for their relationship.
“Everything has been perfect. Whatever perfect is. If it’s not perfect, it’s a hair under it,” Kopish said.
This is the first wedding ever held at SVdP and, according to Executive Director, Ashley McKinnon, it is an important reminder of the nonprofit’s mission.
“Our organization thrives on nurturing individuals who are struggling,” McKinnon said. “Watching the relationship between Scott and Laurie blossom has been truly beautiful. To see people down on their luck, find each other and push one another to grow in a positive way is what we are all about.”
ABOUT ST. VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY OF MARINETTE: St. Vincent de Paul is located in Downtown Marinette, Wisconsin and is home to the area’s largest thrift store and food pantry. SVdP is also a transitional employer, giving individuals who are struggling to get back into the workforce take that first step to gain experience. At SVdP, no act of charity is foreign, from vouchers, to employment, to monetary assistance, we are there to help.
Since its founding in Paris in 1833, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has grown to 800,000 members in over 150 countries with 1,500,000 volunteers. Vincentians understand that service to a neighbor in need is an encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ, and are aware that poverty, suffering, and loneliness are present for millions in our communities. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s work is unique in that Vincentians offer tangible assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis. This aid may take the form of intervention, consultation, or through direct financial or in-kind service.
Providing meaningful employment and volunteer opportunities, our 450 thrift stores are a significant driver of the Society’s mission and effectiveness. Local Conferences distribute clothing, furniture, and household goods to people in need through SVdP Stores vouchers, providing a dignified shopping experience. Profits from our stores contribute millions of dollars for Councils and Conferences to assist neighbors in need in their communities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT
National Council of the United States, Society of St. Vincent de Paul
66 Progress Parkway, St. Louis, MO 63043
phone (314) 576-3993, ext. 204