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Anderson remembers 'Can Man' by collecting pop tabs in his honor

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Posted at 10:56 PM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-29 12:28:44-04

ANDERSON— The city of Anderson is honoring an icon.

Larry "The Can Man" VanNess died earlier this week at 75 years old.

He died after fighting for more than three weeks after being hit by a truck in downtown Anderson.

VanNess collected pop tabs and aluminum cans in Anderson for 19 years for the Ronald McDonald House.

He collected nearly 27 million pop tabs before passing away, Ronald McDonald House officials say that's nearly $12,500 raised.

Every single day VanNess walked downtown Anderson collecting pop tabs.

Now the businesses he visited daily are collecting tabs to honor VanNess.

His caretaker Rachel Landers walked the path he took daily to collect pop tabs and to talk to those who meant so much to VanNess.

"He was very dedicated, very tenacious about what he did," Landers said. "He was a daily presence here."

VanNess would walk along Meridian Street in downtown Anderson.

"Larry never really met a stranger," Landers said. "Larry always would say never give up, I never give up. He also had another little saying that was the can man can."

VanNess walked rain or shine, he was on a mission.

Those who knew him personally say he turned his life around and dedicated it to giving back.

"I was always like you are an Anderson legend and he was like no I just do it for the kids," Amanda Crouch said.

Crouch collected pop tabs at her business, Build Your Own Burrito.

Crouch said she will continue to collect tabs in VanNess' name.

"I kind of feel like someone that did something so great like that and you sit there and count 27 million tabs, I don't even want to count 10. Just to want to get to that goal, I feel like everyone should keep that going," Crouch said.

VanNess' life motto of giving back is now a lasting legacy in Anderson, one that those who live there are hoping to keep alive.

"He was on a mission and quite frankly just because of what happened to him doesn't mean the mission needs to end. He would want it to carry on," Richard Moghadam said.

Moghadam still has a bucket placed outside of the church in honor of VanNess.

"Remember the kind ways he would help the community. Try to mimic and carry on with that," Moghadam said.

Van Ness' visitation will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 4-7 p.m. at Rozelle-Johnson Funeral Service, located at 229 S. Rangeline Road in Anderson. The funeral will be held Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. in the same location.

READ: Larry "The Can Man" Van Ness' obituary