He-Brews Coffee to all who provided materials to make a coffee shop in Iraq possible.
For some, it’s a coffee drinker’s oasis in the desert, but others on camp are skeptical.
“I had some guys from 2nd Recon stop over here, and they thought the sign was a joke,” Anderson said. “One of the guys came in and said, ‘What do you got going on here,’ and I said, ‘What do you want? You want a latte?’ He said, ‘You make lattes?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
With more than 1,000 coffee drinkers coming to the shop, it’s not uncommon for a spiritual conversation to arise with the chaplain.
Anderson made the Marine a latte and then he knew the joke was over and hollered at all his buddies that were staged here in their gun trucks. They all swarmed into the shop.
“I made them all coffees,” said Anderson. “They sat on the patio and were relaxing here for a couple of hours listening to their iPods, reading and drinking coffee. Just about all of them told me this is the coolest thing since we’ve been in Iraq. That really made my day because I was able to provide them with something that made a difference for them in a tangible way.”
“That happens every day,” Anderson said. “We’ll be talking, laughing about something and they’ll say, ‘Chaplain I’ve always wondered about ... ,’ and it’ll lead into a spiritual conversation.”
Although he welcomes conversation, he didn’t open up the coffee shop for the attention.
“I just wanted to do something to serve these Marines and sailors,” Anderson said. “But I knew that that was going to happen, so why not? It works out well.”
Even with the recent success, Anderson has no plans of slowing down his grind. He’s looking ahead to the colder months and is eyeing an indoor shop.
Anderson said he wants to “take my office area and put it where my bedroom is and open it up and put some tables and chairs on the inside. Especially when it starts getting a little colder too, guys don’t want to sit outside ... but we’ll see.”
Anderson also wants to make He-Brews Coffee mobile so Marines and sailors who are stationed at off-base outposts can enjoy a hot cup of coffee.