Hello, my name is Therese Hennessy. I have owned a scrapbook store in SE Wisconsin since 2003. I find creative inspiration in many things. One day, unbeknownst to them, two customers gave me inspiration to give back.
In the fall of 2014, two ladies came into the store searching for items to use for a birthday party in honor of their Dad/Grandfather. He was a veteran and they were using a military theme. They were enjoying the search for things to use for a display board of pictures. What struck me was how proud they were – it was just undeniable. They made their purchases and were on their way. That visit stuck with me the rest of the day.
On my way home, the local station I was listening to was interviewing Jonathan Lucroy (a Milwaukee Brewer baseball player) about his recent Honor Flight trip. I listened to his incredible journey. I thought of those two ladies and thought to myself, “What if each veteran could get their own scrapbook for their trip?” Better yet, what if I could donate them. And, better yet again, what if it was a custom book – just for them and their trip! An album, mostly completed for them, that all they need to do is add their own 4”x6” photos! Wow – can I really do this?
Needless to say, I was so inspired and determined to make this happen.
I talked with a scrapbook supply manufacturer to see if they could help me design a custom album and supplies. They were more than thrilled to be a part of my vision. I then set out to set up a non-profit organization, The Honor Scrapbook, Inc., which I am thrilled to say has become a reality. Next, it was off to setting up fundraising events and asking for donations. We hope to hand out our first Honor Scrapbooks for the fall 2015 flights in Milwaukee.
My initial goal is to start with Milwaukee Stars and Stripes hub and expand to the rest of the hubs in Wisconsin. My idea was warmly received by Stars and Stripes and they’ve been more than helpful. My ultimate vision is to make sure every veteran in every state each receives their own scrapbook. That’s over 20,000 veterans each year! I know that I will do everything I can to make this happen.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my story. None of this would be possible without the help of some special people. My husband Paul is behind my vision 110%. Thanks also to Karyn Roelke (from the Milwaukee hub), Dave Schulz (who answered legal questions) and to Kevin, Layle and the rest of the crew at Simple Stories.
My desire to provide an Honor Scrapbook to every veteran—that they can enjoy and reflect on, and can pass on to family—is insurmountable; a feeling I can’t even describe.
I write this story through tears,