Al Emmons founded the Love Thy Neighbor Foundation in 2016. He has a true passion for helping senior citizens. Al and his team are changing people’s lives for the better by providing valuable resources and choices for the elderly in our community and their caregivers. Stop by one of their upcoming workshops or check out the Love Thy Neighbor website for more info.
You may be familiar with another contribution that Al has made within Greendale. Have you noticed the chimney art on the Greendale Originals? Al and his family added this folk art over the years to 200+ chimneys. Each artistic design has a story. You can learn more about Greendale’s history and the decorated chimneys on a Folk Art Chimney Tour.
Al has a long history in Greendale, having been here for about 60 years. Thank you, Al, for your dedication to helping the senior population and for your love of Greendale.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: Love Thy Neighbor Foundation got started because my brothers both got ill at the same time and I was looking for a way to keep them in their own home. I realized that people don’t know all the options out there and that they have choices. You can do what you want rather than someone else saying you belong in a home or where you should go. I had the idea that this is the kind of thing everybody should know. That people have more choices than they realize. Honestly, at that time I thought I would get 18-20 of these choices and put them down. I met Eileen Soto and she has close to 400 different services just in this area. I am also in construction as a 5th generation wall finisher / plasterer. My grandpa did the Riverside Theater in 1905 and then the museum on 7th and Wisconsin. He worked in the museum and built the glacier and the dinosaur exhibits. My Dad did the streets of Old Milwaukee and I did the rain forest. There are a lot of things there made from plaster/stucco.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Greendale, and what do you love there?
A: It depends. On a cold day, I really like to go to Panther Pub because it’s warm there. I also like to go to Ferch’s, sit down at a table and watch all the people and their dogs go by. My family goes to Ricardo’s, we get a pitcher of beer and after a while we are talking smart and eating pizza. They are all my favorites.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Greendale?
A: About 60 years. When I was 21, I bought 3 homes. Then my wife said she wanted to move back to Greendale. We rented the home she was born in (the house where I’m living now) from her parents until they passed away. We inherited it from them and we bought the house next door and then another one, etc.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Greendale?
A: Eileen Soto. She doesn’t give up. She is really what makes the Love Thy Neighbor Foundation happen.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: Miami. I have 4 children there and they want me to build a tiny house and sit on the beach.
Q: What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: The first movie was Roy Rogers. I was going to marry Dale Evans. So I was really happy that at the end he never married her! And I like the Happy Trails song.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: Someone, somewhere said, “If you ever get the opportunity to do something for the Lord then you should do it.” Love thy neighbor. To me that covers everything.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: Skydiving. “If I decide to go twice, I’ll wear a parachute!”
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: My dad was in a band called The Five Rhythm Boys. The leader of the band named Bill Carlson became a weatherman when TV first came out. I liked that band and music from that era. I also like Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”. Glen Miller. I would like to see The Barenaked Ladies, too.
Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Greendale?
A: Ferch’s because I had my wife’s funeral there. I chose it because they have the movie room. The kids go in there and just close the door and the grown-ups can talk. It’s a good place for big groups and it’s economical.
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative with whom would you love to have lunch? Why and where would you have lunch?
A: Trump. I would like to tell him about Love Thy Neighbor and about how much money we could save the government by letting people know that they could stay in their own home with a lot less money than they are spending going into homes. We would have lunch at Panther Pub.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Greendale?
A: The paths. I can’t walk anymore but I loved walking on the paths. I liked to go up into the woods. And I like how safe you feel here and feeling completely comfortable all the time.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: No place like…
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: Ann Margret.
Q: If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: I already have a chef, a housekeeper and a physical fitness trainer, too. I don’t want anybody to drive for me. My brother is here and he does the house. But to answer your question, I’d like to have a “Director of Making People Happy & Content”.