Meet Bob Hennings, a Navy veteran turned craftsman, who combines his love for America and faith through woodworking. He calls this endeavor his personal ministry, although he candidly admits that he’s not an expert in the craft. With a chuckle, he shares that he’s still learning the ropes of woodworking, but anyone who has seen his creations would call them nothing short of remarkable.
ob started on this creative journey back in 2017, following a long and dedicated career in federal service. After serving in the Navy, he joined the US Department of Veteran Affairs, providing vocational rehabilitation services and counseling to disabled veterans re-entering civilian life. This experience lasted for two decades. Next, he worked for 18 years with the US Department of Homeland Security, focusing on improving immigration processes nationwide.
As retirement neared, Bob decided to venture into something new—woodworking. The first flag he ever crafted still hangs on the wall of his work shed at home, serving as a reminder to stay humble. Since that first project, the quality of his wooden flags and crosses has evolved significantly.
Bob meticulously focuses on measurements and finishing details now. Initially crafting his pieces from oak, he’s expanded his material palate to include Brazilian cherry and maple, opting for staining over painting. Unlike some craftsmen who use a propane torch to bring out the grain in pine, Bob is steadfast in his belief that flags shouldn’t be burned—a conviction he’s held his whole life.
Bob’s woodworking portfolio is also expanding in terms of design. He now crafts flags that look as though they are draped or waving in the wind, a piece that requires 14 hours of labor. These flags often deceive viewers into thinking they’re made of metal. His latest creation, a folded flag design, was actually his wife Judy’s idea.
Speaking of Judy, she is an integral part of this crafting journey. Married for 53 years, she has meticulously placed over 36,000 stars on the flags and crosses Bob has made. Together, they’ve sold hundreds of flags and nearly 1,500 patriotic crosses, primarily at craft shows around the metro area. Bob relishes these craft shows because they offer him a platform to spread both patriotism and his faith, two things he holds dearly.
he’s also a community leader. He serves as the church liaison at Omaha’s Covenant Presbyterian Church, where he oversees a newly-formed boys troop called Trail Life for Boys. Additionally, every Tuesday, he visits the Douglas County Department of Corrections with the church pastor to share faith and hope with the inmates.
So, if you’re interested in witnessing the remarkable work of a veteran who crafts with a mission, you can catch Bob and his unique creations at any of his upcoming three craft shows. And rest assured, his works aren’t just pieces of art; they’re embodiments of patriotism and faith, handcrafted with love and care.
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