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Since we’re in a drought, fireworks are on the endangered list this Independence Day. So it’s an excellent idea to find a less flammable way to celebrate our freedoms. Here’s what I did to say thank you to the keepers of this liberty: I bought a cup of coffee for a soldier. Green Bean Coffee Company offers a way to buy a cup of coffee for men or women serving in our armed services through a program called a Cup of Joe for a Joe.
In 1997, two brothers, Jason and Jon Araghi, opened a gourmet coffee house in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. US Army personnel especially enjoyed the café, and soon the nearby Army base invited the company to open a café on their site. More invitations followed to open cafes on bases, and the next three opened at the Prince Sultan Air Force base, in Al-Kharj KSA. They now have coffee houses for the military in “Afghanistan, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Qatar, Djibouti, Africa and domestically at military bases across North America.”
The company got its start with a unique dedication to the troops of the United States military, wanting to provide an environment where “soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines can relax and feel at home.” Green Bean Coffee cafes, offers high quality coffee and tea beverages and baked goods. “Our fifteen-year heritage of supporting those that put their lives at stake in service to our country is firmly rooted and non-negotiable.” A portion of every sale is donated to “charities like TAPS [Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors] and Soldiers Angels that strive to improve the life for disabled armed services members, military families and their children.”
Their motto is “Honor First, Coffee Second.” Two dollars will buy one cup of coffee. I bought five cups of coffee at their internet site www.greenbeanscoffee.com . With each gifted cup of coffee the company also delivered my personalized note of thanks for each personnel’s service. I’m sharing their notes of thanks sent to me, but to protect their privacy, I’m not giving their full names or ranks if they gave them. The first cup of Joe went to a soldier serving at Phoenix in Afghanistan: Joe # 1 said, “Thank you for the cup of joe it made my day!!”
Joe #2 serving in Bagram South in Afghanistan, wrote “Thank you so much for the free cup of coffee! It’s the little things while over here that help!” Cup of Joe # 3 went to a soldier serving in Ali Al Salem in Kuwait, and Jane # 4 from Sather AB, wrote, “Thanks so much for your support and patriotism! Kristin, USAF Baghdad, Iraq.” I’m not sharing these to receive any pat on the back because the minute I sent my ten dollars on its way, that was enough for me, but Joe # 5 from Speicher, North in Iraq, wrote: “Cathy - thank you so much for the coffee. Your gesture of kindness means so much out here, believe me! Big hugs, you wonderful person! Marcus.”
Find out more about this patriotic company at their site and from their timeline detailing their additional openings on military bases in Asia and Africa. In 2005 Green Beans Coffee introduced their on-line coffee card to allow friends and family to purchase gifts of coffee for loved ones stationed around the world. The program was a success with hundreds of cards purchased online by Americans and corporate sponsors to show their support and appreciation of US and Coalition troops.
At their site, they also post via Twitter and Facebook pictures of military personnel at the coffee shops or even videos of surprise homecomings or marriage proposals. Not only do donations boost the morale of our military personnel, but my heart was touched when I took time to watch a couple of videos linked from YouTube. One showed a first time dad returning home as a surprise and then he got to hold his newborn son for the first time. Another showed a dad surprising his children upon his return stateside, and the final one I watched showed a soldier, upon his return, getting down on one knee to offer a proposal of marriage to the girl he obviously missed and wanted to be his wife. She said, “Yes!”
We non-military in the United States spend our days in the pursuit of happiness and go to sleep at night in a safe country because of the sacrifices of others. We rest because of their laurels. Synonyms for the word “laurels” are glories, successes, honors, and achievements. Our freedoms come at a cost to those who serve. The least they give is great. Some sacrifice their careers in the general work force, others are gone from home for numerous tours of duty, others carry battle scars for life, and finally others pay the ultimate price for God and country with their lives, leaving voids in families which will never be filled.
In July of 1776, the estimated number of people living in our newly independent nation was 2.5 million. Currently in the US, we have about 311,661,907 and these citizens are battling every kind of weather condition on the home front -- tornados, floods, and the south has turned into a dust bowl. Overseas or at home, we all fare better when each of us in our blended American family do our part to make where we live a better place. Consider offering a good will gesture through a cup of coffee, borne in the USA but sent into the world with a great amount of thanks. Happy 4th of July.
Index Card Scripture for Week 26: “But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you” (Jonah 2:9).