Couri Insurance executives and agents traveled to
San Diego in October and while there assembled plush
animals and wheelchairs to benefit veterans and
their families. Pictured from left to right are:
back row, Mark Dhuey and Mark LeMahieu; middle row,
Mitchell Pomper, Ron Philleo, Steve Albinger, Jeff
Knuese, Lorraine LeMahieu, Jerry Couri, Ted Smith,
and Kelly Papenthien; and front row, Angela Philleo,
Becky Pomper, Judie Couri, Mary Dhuey, Wendy Smith,
Roxanne Knuese and Caryn Papenthien.
WAUKESHA - Both Jerry and Judie Couri
became teary-eyed Monday as they recounted a recent trip
they took to San Diego that involved building
wheelchairs for veterans and assembling special teddy
bears for children of deployed military personnel.
Accompanying the Couris on the trip were
other Couri executives and six of the business’s
top-performing agents and their spouses.
Judie Couri, president of Couri Insurance
Associates, and Jerry Couri, president of Couri
Insurance Agency, have already established a reputation
of supporting the Waukesha community. But veterans’
issues are also near and dear to their hearts.
Jerry Couri is a Vietnam veteran and said
he wanted to show his appreciation for others who have
served the United States or are currently serving.
Steve Albinger, vice
president of operations, left, and Jerry Couri,
president of Couri Insurance Agency, assemble a
wheelchair for a veteran while visiting San Diego in
“These people have given up so much,” he
said. “It’s a little something we could do to say thank
While in San Diego from Oct. 23 to Oct.
30, the Couris and their associates built three
wheelchairs and 16 plush animals, including a camouflage
teddy bear and a monkey. The plush animals are sent to
the child with a note saying the toy is from their
The Couris worked with The Blue Star
Mothers of America, Inc., a non-partisan, non-political,
non-sectarian organization, to get the wheelchairs and
bears to those who need them.
Couri Insurance donated $5,500 for the
wheelchairs and leased them to the receiving veterans
for a dollar for indefinite use because otherwise the
veterans would have had to pay taxes on the items.
Papenthien, vice president of Couri Insurance
Associates, left, and her mother, Judie Couri,
president of Couri Insurance Associates, stand with
one of the wheelchairs they helped to make for a
veteran while in San Diego recently.
in tears thinking about it’
Each wheelchair carried a sign on back
with a special message from the Couri Insurance
“I am in tears thinking about it,” Judie
Couri said, adding they started to plan the trip a while
ago “because we wanted to do more for the military than
we felt we were doing.”
Days after returning to Waukesha, Judie
Couri said she is still getting words of thanks from the
other executives and the six agents and spouses who
accompanied them. The Couris’ daughter, Caryn Papenthien,
vice president of Couri Insurance Associates, and her
husband, Kelly, went on the trip, along with Steve
Albinger, vice president of operations. The six agents
chosen for the incentive trip were Ron Philleo, Ted
Smith, Mitchell Pomper, Mark LeMahieu, Jeff Knuese and
Caryn Papenthien, vice president of Couri Insurance
Associates, creates a teddy bear care package for a
child of a United State military member during a
recent trip to San Diego.
Judie Couri said Knuese put off surgery
so he could go on the trip.
“This all meant so much to them to be
able to help out and to know that someone is going to be
happy,” she said.
In addition to working hands-on, Judie
Couri said the group also spent time getting a
behind-the-scenes tour of the USS Midway and went on a
charter yacht with a retired military officer who
provided a tour of the harbor and its military ships.
A sign placed on the back of one of the wheelchairs
representatives from Couri Insurance Agency made
thanks the receiving veteran for their service.
Judie Couri was so impressed with the
work The Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. does that
she is trying to get a branch of the organization
started locally. She said she met with state Sen. Leah
Vukmir to discuss the possibility.
“We would like to get this started so
other people could have the satisfaction that we had
doing this,” she said.