116 ;e Costco Connection NOVEMBER 2015
WHEN JOHN MOLLISON was a boy, looking for something to do, his mother gave him boxes from his father’s model planes to draw. It drew him into a world
of war aircraft and the men who flew them.
“While a lot of kids were collecting baseball cards, I knew stats of World War II fighter
pilots,” says Mollison (right) during a Skype
call from his home in South Dakota.
Mollison’s boyhood hero, Bud Anderson,
a P- 51 Mustang triple ace, signed one of his
drawings in 2000, and the two developed a
friendship. After a bad day at his job in 2001,
Mollison called Anderson.
“Tell me about what it takes to lead people;
tell me what it takes to succeed,” he asked. “His
comment to me was, ‘If you draw other pilots’
It led to a new career, taking his art and his
living histories—he has interviewed more than
100 veterans—all over the world, as well as to
an Internet television show, Old Guys and Their
Mollison is looking for more than war stories;
he is developing insight into human behavior.
“The questions weren’t ‘Where
were you on such and
such a date?’ It was
‘Tell me what you’ve
learned,’ ” explains Mollison, 49, who
observes, “Life is all about character. When
I talk to 90-year-old men, 80-year-old men,
who have been through prison camps, who
have been heroes, character matters.
Understanding the value of the story is get-
ting that wisdom, that sense of legacy, and
bringing it out to the rest of the people.”
Old guys and
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 115
In our digital editions
Click here for more from John
Mollison, and a trailer for
There and Back. (See page
14 for details.)
he is developing insight into human behavior.
WHEN COSTCO EMPLOYEE Alek Skarlatos talks about how he and his friends prevented a gunman from opening fire on a high-speed train full
of travelers in France, he describes it the
way he would his job back home.
“A guy came on the train car with an
AK, and me and my friends tackled him and
took his guns,” says Alek, 23, a cashier
assistant at Costco in Roseburg, Oregon.
And that’s exactly what happened when
Alek and his friends Anthony Sadler and
Spencer Stone, with the help of other passengers, disarmed a 25-year-old Moroccan
man who brandished an AK- 47 assault rifle,
a Luger pistol and a box cutter on a train
headed to Paris on August 21, 2015.
Alek, who is a National Guardsman in
Oregon, was on vacation in Europe, where
Left to right: Alek Skarlatos,
Spencer Stone, President Obama,
It’s in the bag
I T TOOK TWO weeks for military spouse pals Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse to painstakingly stitch and hand-sew seven purses made from timeworn military shelter
tents—and less than a day to sell out.
“We knew right then we were on to some-
thing,” says Cruse. That was four years ago. Today,
R. Riveter (
rriveter.com)—named for Rosie the
Riveter—is a burgeoning success with 20 employ-
ees, dubbed Riveters, spread across the country
who have since constructed some 4,000 custom-
made products. The creation of each bag and the
materials involved echo the company’s epony-
The softly structured bags are made from
used shelter tents, military blankets and uniforms,
and are accented with buttery stamped leather.
The five styles, each named for a military spouse—
e.g., “Patton” for Beatrice Patton—come in deep,
“Even though spouses don’t wear a uniform,
they play a huge role in our history,” says Bradley.
Each Riveter, all of whom are military spouses,
makes one portion of a bag—the soft leather tabs
or the hand-cut lining, for example. Each segment
is then sent to Southern Pines, North Carolina,
where Cruse and her team assemble the bag.
R. Riveter also employs military spouses for social
media, Web design and photography.
The jobs are an antidote for common issues
among military spouses: unemployment, a frac-
tured résumé and a lack of portable careers. But
this is a team of women who get exactly what it
means to be married to the 1 percent of the
population who serve in the military.
“We are assembling a national network of
working Riveters, but more importantly we are
helping stitch a community together,” says
Bradley.—Molly Blake is a freelance writer in
AMY CRISPINO was frustrated. Her hus- band is an active-duty soldier, and, as a former teacher, she was looking for materi- als that would inspire her two children to
learn more about the places they have visited
while moving around the country.
When she didn’t find much, she decided
to do something about it. In 2010, Crispino
teamed up with her friend Janine Boldrin, a
writer and fellow Army spouse, to create
Lending a voice A B I R A Y P H O T O
Cameron Cruse (left) and
F-4D Phantom II
ILLUS TRATION B Y JOHN MOLLISON