WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Bill Haack wanted veterans to have a place to feel comfortable.
That's one reason he brought the American Heroes Café to Wisconsin Rapids.
At the café, which opened last Wednesday, volunteers serve free coffee and doughnuts to local veterans once a week.
Haack, who served 20 years in the Navy, used to go to the first café in Kenosha when he lived there.
Sharon Janusz and Mary Domes started the Kenosha café.
"You may have been in the Army, you may have been in the Navy or the Marines, but when you come into the café there are no boundaries," Janusz said.
"They can talk about their service, or they can talk about something totally different, and they care about each other," says Domes.
Haack went to the café most Fridays in Kenosha.
"They would look forward to Fridays, just to sit and relax and just talk to vets who had been through the same things they had been through, and it just seemed to—it was a healing process for a lot of them," Haack said.
He missed the café when he moved to Wisconsin Rapids in December.
"You get to swapping stories, and you hear about the World War II stories, and they hear what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan," Haack says.
So he started the first American Heroes Café in northcentral Wisconsin.
Every Wednesday, Haack and other volunteers will serve veterans at the Lowell Senior Center.
"I just hope this really takes off and we see a lot more people showing up. Veterans of all ages," says Vietnam veteran James Zwicke.
Café founders want to expand everywhere, but they need more people to get involved.
They think the café is a good way for veterans to get the recognition they deserve.
"Especially for those who may have come home at a time where they were either not acknowledged or unfortunately the acknowledgement was not as it should've been. They at least get the assistance from each other as far as. 'I'm glad you're here. Welcome home," Domes says.
If you're interested in getting involved, you can email Haack at firstname.lastname@example.org