Therese Hennessy, owner of the Polkadots and More in Mukwonago, not only finds creative inspiration in crafts but also in interactions.
She has put her passions together with the creation of the nonprofit The Honor Scrapbook, which seeks to honor veterans.
Hennessy explained that a couple of incidents led to her idea for the scrapbooks.
She noticed a mom and daughter shopping in her store, preparing for a party they were putting on for the woman's husband, a military veteran.
"They were talking to each other, and you could tell how proud they were. It was a different type of enthusiasm," Hennessy said.
Then, Hennessy — a huge Milwaukee Brewers fan — was driving home and overheard former Brewers player Jonathan Lucroy on the radio talking about the Honor Flight he was volunteering on.
Hennessy wondered what could she do for the veterans. She put her crafting talents to work and created a scrapbook, now given at no cost to military veterans who participate in Honor Flight trips.
The scrapbook is designed to be easy for veterans to fill out through "pocket" scrapbooking, in which the book provides clear page protectors that are divided into smaller pockets.
Hennessy explained that the veterans simply insert photos and fill out the patriotic journal note cards to customize the books.
The scrapbook is not only a memento of the Honor Flight but also a keepsake for family members or friends. Hennessy thinks it is a way to relive a special time.
Karyn Roelke, vice president of public relations for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, expressed appreciation to Hennessy and her donated scrapbooks.
“An Honor Flight day is such a special day for our oldest local heroes, and these wonderful books give them the perfect place to keep all their photos and mementos from the day," she said.
Roelke said veterans have been seen carrying the scrapbooks around their communities and showing them to as many people as possible.
"We know they will become family treasures," Roelke said.
Passing on the patriotic feeling
Hennessy is a busy woman, between running a business and a nonprofit organization. But she has the support of her husband and children. In fact, her 16-year-old son and two of his friends volunteered for the May 20 honor flight homecoming.
"I think it is wonderful 16-year old guys want to spend their night doing this," she said.
Hennessy has noticed an increase in teens becoming involved in honoring veterans. Local high schools such as Mukwonago High School have sent their cheerleaders and other groups to the homecomings.
"The younger generation is hearing more about the Honor Flight and wanting to be involved," she said.
Her kids enjoy shaking hands with veterans, handing out the scrapbooks and saying thanks.
She encourages people to attend an Honor Flight homecoming and see all the signs, families, fanfare and respect.
Hennessy's wish is to provide scrapbooks at every Honor Flight, everywhere. The organization relies solely on contributions, and she hopes to inspire businesses to be sponsors or donate to keep it going.
To donate or learn more visit hehonorscrapbook.org.