Friday, April 19, 2013

An Honor

Coffee Strong held a party last Saturday to celebrate re-opening in its new location.  After four years of subsidizing  a money losing coffee business, the Coffee Strong board and volunteers changed the model from coffee house to GI/veteran resource center with full time staff.  The site moved to a larger but less expensive space next door to the old location, still within spitting distance of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  Coffee Strong still serves coffee but that is now incidental to the mission:  opposing the wars and helping service members and veterans understand their options. 

Supporters and volunteers who assisted in the conversion were recognized as Plank Owners.  As I understand the term, a plank owner is a crew member of a ship at commissioning.  I was among those so recognized, with the certificate thereof, for which I am deeply honored.  Also grateful that I've had the opportunity to be part of Coffee Strong since its beginning in 2008 and for the past three years volunteering there as a veterans advocate.

My relationship with Lewis-McChord goes back to 1970, when it was Fort Lewis Army Base next to the adjacent McChord Air Force Base.  I did my infantry training at Fort Lewis from September to November, earning my 11 Bravo MOS before being sent to Vietnam in December.  I never knew about the GI coffee house in nearby Tacoma, The Shelter Half.  Being part of a similar movement for a new generation of service members is a source of great personal satisfaction..

Shameless plug:  Like most shoestring nonprofits, Coffee Strong is always in need of donations.  If you have some spare cash, you might consider slipping a few bucks their way.  

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