If you’ve ever served in the military, you know that the local USO Center can be an oasis.
It’s a place to relax, grab a drink or a bite, play games with friends or just unwind.
In honor of Military Appreciation Month for May, we're proud to donate $2,000 worth of coffee for service members to enjoy. This donation is a special one for us because our founder, Luke Schneider, is a Navy veteran who graduated in January 2004 from boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois, where every young American inspired to serve their nation in the World’s finest Navy earns the right to be a Sailor.
“When I was at Great Lakes, I remember using the USO Center to contact my family or to relax during transitioning and on orders to command,” Schneider said. “It provides comfort during a time in someone's life that is very new. Often the service member, like myself, was all alone for the first time in their life. The USO provides a place of refuge where you can feel safe, relax and call loved ones you often cannot talk to during training or assignment.”
For Schneider, his time in the Navy was an opportunity to serve his country and simultaneously get essential training for his ultimate career goal of becoming a professional firefighter-paramedic. Every sailor is trained as a firefighter, and Schneider became a shipboard firefighter and paramedic before leaving the service as a petty officer second class.
It was during those Navy years that he also developed a love and appreciation for a good cup of coffee. Life aboard a ship includes long duty hours that test a person’s focus and endurance. Schneider discovered that coffee gave him the fuel to keep going until the job was done.
Around 40,000 recruits go through boot camp at Great Lakes each year, so it’s a true privilege to offer Fire Dept. Coffee to keep the next generation of sailors alert and focused. There’s no better place than at the impressive USO center, which recently opened its doors after undergoing extensive renovations for nearly a year.
The 15,000-square-foot center now features a state-of-the-art sound system, a DJ area and a dedicated gaming room. It’s open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day so that no matter their schedule, sailors can drop in to relax and enjoy a break from the rigors of Navy life.
“I personally got to experience the care the USO Naval Station Great Lakes has provided, and this is our way of saying thank you,” Schneider said. “For all the young sailors who are their own for the first time in their lives, we want them to know that they are not alone, and we are thankful for their service.”
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