ST. PAUL (WCCO) — It’s been one year since WCCO-TV reporter Darcy Pohland died from a bleeding stomach ulcer. Her presence is missed in the newsroom.
“The thing that I miss the most about Darcy is that infectious laugh she always had,” said photojournalist Bob Hernandez. “It’s not just m. Everybody misses her.”
“Oh, it’s quieter. It is definitely quieter,” said reporter Jason DeRusha. “I think we all feel lucky we had the time we did with her, but it still hurts.”
WCCO-TV producer Sonya Goins was a friend of Pohland’s.
“I like to think part of her spirit will always live with me,” Goins said.
Pohland isn’t just missed in the newsroom. She’s also missed at Handi Medical Supply in St. Paul. The company’s founder, Mary Benhurdus, was Pohland’s first personal care attendant.
Benhurdus remembers staying with Pohland when her parents took a trip after she got out of the hospital.
“I don’t think they were on the plane yet, and Darcy’s like, ‘Let’s go look at this apartment. We gotta get out of here. We gotta get an apartment. I gotta get back to school.’ By the time her parents were home, she had it all arranged.”
Pohland moved fast, but back then, the people who fixed wheelchairs didn’t.
“It’s not a problem that your wheelchair doesn’t work for 3 or 4 days?” said Benhurdus. “That’s a huge problem!”
She was so frustrated by the lack of service for Pohland and other people with disabilities she decided to start her own business. Pohland became a customer at Handi.
WCCO-TV photographers remember stopping at the University Avenue business when Pohland’s wheelchair broke down. Benhurdus’s technicians would work, and so would Pohland.
It’s been 23 years since Benhurdus opened her doors. She now has 65 employees and a room named after her friend.
“We just decided, ‘Let’s call it the Darcy Pohland conference room and remember that every day that she’s our inspiration.’ “
Paula Engelking, Producer