American Heroes Café founder receives Jefferson Award
By City Times staff
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Bill Haack, veteran and founder of the American Heroes Cafe Central Wisconsin, has been honored with the WAOW Jefferson Award.
The Jefferson Award recognizes unsung heroes in the community who are “making a local impact.”
Haack founded the café as a way to honor veterans, police, firefighters, and EMS workers, bringing the idea from a similar café in Kenosha.
“While living in Kenosha County and working at Great Lakes Naval Base, I had many opportunities to visit the original American Heroes Café located in Festival of Foods,” Haack recalled in an early story with the City Times. “This project was run by two ladies, Mary Domes and Sharon Janusz, who served coffee and donuts to veterans on Fridays from 8 (a.m.) to noon. I could never figure out why more people in other communities didn’t latch onto this idea. I vowed to myself that if I moved up north after retirement, I would do something very similar.
“The day of retirement came and went until finally my wife said ‘you know, I wouldn’t mind moving back up north.’ I immediately started looking for houses in the Wisconsin Rapids area. In December of 2014 we closed and moved into a nice home in Nekoosa, eight miles from Rapids. Once all the moving was done and we settled in for the long haul, I knew it was time to put my plan into action.
“Opening day was Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 and it was kicked off by the two wonderful ladies from Kenosha, Sharon & Mary, cutting the ribbon on the door.”
Today, the café crops up on Wednesday morning at the Crossview Church, 1000 E. Riverview Expy, No. 120, Wisconsin Rapids, 7:30-10:30 a.m.
For more information, find the American Heroes Cafe Central Wisconsin on Facebook.