America Supports You: Family Sends Gourmet Coffee to Troops
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2006 There's nothing like a steaming cup of gourmet coffee to get you started in the morning, and coffee is one of the few things servicemembers can make in a combat zone, said Jon Rogers, founder and president of the Rogers Family Company.
Volunteers at a care package packing gathering at the California Army National Guard's armory in Van Nuys, Calif., packs coffee packets into care packages bound for troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations overseas. The volunteers are Judy Beer (left) who puts the coffee in the package as Kerri Parr pushes boxes along the assembly line. Photo courtesy Carolyn Blashek
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Rogers and his family are making it possible for thousands of servicemembers fighting the global war on terrorism and assigned on other missions around the world to be able to wake up to the aroma and flavor of gourmet coffee.
The family is geared up to provide gourmet coffee for more than 25,000 care packages being prepared by "Operation Gratitude" for servicemembers in Iraq; Afghanistan; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; South Korea; Kosovo; Bosnia and other places around the world.
And they might throw in a few thousands of pounds more, if needed, Rogers said. Operation Gratitude is putting together care packages during its "Patriotic Drive" to get them to the troops by the Fourth of July.
More will be needed, Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude, said. She said the organization plans to send 40,000 to 50,000 care packages to deployed servicemembers. "We've already passed the 25,000 mark," Blashek noted.
"We have committed to the 25,000 that they are assured they will send," Rogers said earlier. "When they tell us they will go above 25,000, we will probably commit to the rest. It is a matter of fitting the production into our workload at the time."
This marks the fourth time the Rogers Family Company has donated coffee for Operation Gratitude care packages. "We have sent several shipments," Rogers, an Army veteran, said.
The company sent about 5,600 pounds of the company's "Colombian Supremo" gourmet coffee to Marines in Iraq in 2005 to recognize the sacrifices they and other servicemembers make to protect American freedoms. In the winter of 2004, the company donated 37,000 2-ounce bags of pre-ground San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee for Operation Gratitude to pack in care packages for troops around the world.
In November 2004, the Rogers Family Company shipped 2,500 pounds of coffee to a Marine unit stationed near Fallujah, Iraq, at the request of Lucy Vega of Salinas, Calif., who wanted to boost the morale of her brother, Lance Cpl. Adrian Jimenez.
Rogers said his motivation is simple: "They're risking their lives, and we sit at home safe and sound. It's the least we can do."