In honor of Veteran’s Day we want to highlight a cafe called Coffee Strong, located just outside the Fort Lewis / McChord joint military bases in Lakewood, Washington. Coffee Strong is a cafe run by veterans under the age of thirty, offering free Stumptown coffee to all active duty and retired military personnel. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; the cafe is a remarkable advocate for soldiers at all steps in their careers, from all walks of life, and welcomes veterans and active duty members with differing backgrounds and viewpoints. Make no mistake, this GI shop is aggressively anti-war, but vehemently pro-troops, in many ways a living link to the SOS (Support Our Soldiers) anti-war coffeehouses that sprung up near military bases during the Vietnam era.
Coffee Strong’s website states, “The unique coffeehouse welcomes soldiers with a free cup of coffee. There is access to the Internet, an informative library, and many referrals are available to community resources, including GI Rights counseling and Veterans Benefits.” The cafe itself is a project from GI Voice, a non-profit organization focusing on the human rights and social justice needs of American soldiers. Go ahead and check out Coffee Strong’s website by clicking here. You can learn more about their mission, resources, and the high profile board of directors at GI Voice.
The cafe is engaged in an ongoing online fundraiser to continue the cafe and its valuable services for the PNW military community. If you’re into it, you can learn more here, and consider donating to this worthwhile organization. Better yet, stop by Coffee Strong the next time you’re driving between Seattle and Portland. It’s free coffee for military types, but they are very much open to the public.
Happy Veterans Day everybody, and thanks, Grandpa Bob & Grandpa Keith.
- Seattle NPR Affiliate KUOW’s 2008 feature on Coffee Strong (starts at 15:00)
- Sir, No, Sir! Gallery of Vietnam Era Coffee Houses
- Under the Hood’s History of the Oleo Strut Coffeehouse