Little did I know a surprise waited for me from dozens of soldiers deployed overseas.

Hunters and anglers are very generous people, in my humble opinion, especially when it comes to saying thanks to a veteran. I have written about veteran hunting and fishing trips before, but a friend and professional hunter, Bill Miller, showed me a fast and easy way to say thanks in a meaningful way. Any of us can do this: a cup of coffee for a deployed soldier, also known as a Cup of Joe for a Joe.

The challenge came through Miller’s blog. With a son-in-law currently deployed and a son that came home at the end of February, I was a light touch for this invitation to donate.

My experience is that most Americans are thankful to those serving in our armed forces. They will jump at a chance to say thank you in a tangible way, especially if it is quick and easy like this one. I had a bit of a surprise with my Cup of Joe experience, though, and maybe you will, too.

The website is safe and easy to use for a credit card donation.  Click on the link to the left or just google Cup of Joe for a Joe.
The website is safe and easy to use for a credit card donation. Click on the link to the left or just google Cup of Joe for a Joe.

Here’s the gist of it. The website is www.greenbeanscoffee.com. You can choose any amount of money to donate–as little as $2, which is a cup of coffee for one service member. I did $40 for 20 service members and here is the surprise that came my way over the last six weeks: I received a personalized thank you email from 18 soldiers that enjoyed a cup of coffee because of my donation.

I have blown $40 in a lot of ways before. So have you, be honest. This was (by f-a-r!) the best $40 donation I have ever made.

Donors have an option to remain anonymous or, if they choose, can add a personal note. Including a return email address is also optional. My note mentioned that we have a son and son-in-law serving. And with an efficiency that comes from private enterprise and ingenuity, along with the free Cup of Joe at their base, the soldier got my note.

The coffee went to Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, and a number of different posts in Afghanistan. In turn, if the soldier wants to, he or she can drop a note back via Green Beans Coffee. How cool is that?

Here’s a sampling of the notes I received back:

  • From CFC Eggers in Afghanistan: Thanks so much and God bless you!
  • From Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan: Thanks Houtman family, I appreciate that you care about us and what me and my military family is doing. Thanks again.
  • From Kandahar MWR in Afghanistan: Thank you very much for the coffee. It’s nice to know people back home are thinking of us. Have a great day.
  • From Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan: Thank you very much and thanks for your family’s remarkable level of service. These Cup of Joes are great morale boosters and morale is directly proportional to performance. God bless you!
  • CFC Eggers in Afghanistan: We thank you for your support and the service of your family.
  • From Al-Dhafra AFB in United Arab Emirates: Thank you very much for your generosity. It is nice to have a good cup of Joe for a change.
  • From Leatherneck BX1 in Afghanistan: Thank you so much for your support. I really appreciate you.
  • From Leatherneck MWR in Afghanistan: Thank you for your support and for the cup of coffee! Semper Fidelis!
  • From Bagram, Camp Sabalu-Harrison in Afghanistan: Thanks Jim and Kristine! Thanks to your son too for his service.
  • From Camp Lemonier NEX in Djibouti: Thank you for the coffee–many blessings to you all also for remembering us out here deployed.
  • From Camp Arifjan Zone 1 in Kuwait: We succeed at our job because of your support. God Bless.
  • And from a gal that wanted to make sure we know that it is also a Cup of Joe for a JoAnn, too, from Bagram PAX Terminal in Afghanistan: Thank you so much for your support to the troops and to your boys we are currently serving in the military too. Tina

Okay, so you lived a little vicariously through my email exchanges and the coolest $40 donation I have ever made. Now follow this link and with any dollar amount you can spare, send a cup of Joe to a Joe (or JoAnn) and say thanks.

K.J. Houtman is the author of the award-winning Fish On Kids Books series, chapter books for eight- to 12-year-olds with adventures based around fishing, camping, and hunting. Her work is available at Amazon and local bookstores. Find out more at fishonkidsbooks.com.

Image courtesy K.J. Houtman

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