Having a cup of coffee with a veteran this year can make history when you capture a story for the Library of Congress.
VitaCup and the Military
My name is Laura. I’m the VP of Marketing at VitaCup! VitaCup originated in San Diego, and San Diego is a community with a strong military presence. I should know - I’m a San Diego native and I was born at the Balboa Navy Hospital, the proud daughter of a Marine Corps Major.
My dad is a true hero who served in the Korean war and made it back against enormous odds. He never had basic training, but returned and became a drill sergeant. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam and became an officer. He retired after 30 years active duty service.
His service didn’t stop there. He’s been volunteering at MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) San Diego for years. He gives medallions to graduating recruits. I look on fondly from the piano bench, where I volunteer for the weekly church services. My father recounts selling newspapers on the same base in World War II and his observations from 70 years since enlistment. He tells them today’s graduating Marines are some of the best and brightest to have come through the halls. The newest Marines leave with a sense of duty to live up to my father’s example.
Making New Friends with Coffee
People are moved by my father’s amazing stories. My brother even joined the Navy and serve as a doctor in my father's footsteps. Everyone knows my dad's stories are the best!
At VitaCup we get to make new friends. I love to hear from our customers over a virtual coffee table and learn more about them. VitaCup customers are phenomenal people!
One such phenom is Gus. Gus emailed VitaCup to tell us he loved the coffee, but he was wondering if we were in nearby stores and if we had other coffees. He explained that he was a Korean Vet and that he was going to his sister’s house up the street to brew our pods.
Gus’ email immediately caught my attention. He’d gone through great lengths to make our coffee - and he had already gone to great lengths with his military service decades before. I wanted to do something special for Gus. I had been wanting to test a French press style single serve brewer on Amazon, so I ordered it for Gus and asked if he’d give me feedback in return. It was a success! Gus had the coffee AND he had a good brewer option that didn’t take up too much of his limited counter space. I told my dad I’d met a Korean War veteran and he gave me a card to mail to Gus. I sent more pods and the note from my dad.
Gus and I corresponded about our mutual love of Jazz and he sent me several AMAZING CDs to listen to. I love the Sarah Vaughn he picked out for me! I was excited to meet a new friend and humbled to be able to do a small gesture for this special vet. We should all be so lucky, and recognize the unique opportunity to spend time with a veteran and hear their stories.
My father has asked for Gus’ phone number. He loves sharing his story with other vets and wants to hear Gus’ story, too. My father is a bit of a historian and loves to get a more complete picture of what others experienced during their service.
Veterans and Stories
Veterans all have amazing stories. Every veteran experienced service in a different way. It’s a gift have a veteran share their perspective, because each is important.
For many veterans, showing you want to share time with them and listen to their experiences is honoring them. It illustrates that their sacrifices matter and that they make a difference to those around them. For some veterans, sharing their stories may even prove therapeutic.
One of the easiest ways I’ve found to capture my father’s story is with the StoryCorps app. The StoryCorps app is a free app that helps you conduct an interview. It has built in prompts to help you lead the interview, making it easy to walk someone through their story. Once you complete the recording on your phone, tablet, or computer, you upload the story and share it.
Make the StoryCorps recording public and publish it so that it will also go into the Library of Congress where it is available as a part of the American Folklife Center. This means you could visit the Library of Congress and listen to your interview there! What an amazing experience! Your story will be captured for history, preserving it for your family. You’re also part of a public archive allowing others to stitch together the full fabric of experiences that Veterans shared for a more complete tapestry of the men and women who serve.
Don’t miss this chance. Grab a cup of coffee with a Veteran this Veteran’s Day and get their story. My dad and I will be asking Gus to share his story, until then, you can hear my dad’s story here.
If you upload a veteran’s story, please share it in the comments below or email us! We’d love to hear it!