JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS -- The smell of coffee is not the only thing filling the room. Laughter and conversations also take place as members of the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing wait in the Resiliency Cafe for their cup of coffee.
The Airmen Resiliency Team uses these moments as another opportunity to engage with Airmen, but maintaining a steady supply can become a challenge. Thanks to a donation of 12 pallets of coffee containing 5,609 lbs. of coffee pods, whole bean and ground coffee by Holy Joe’s Cafe, the ART can continue to leverage this resource.
Holy Joe’s Cafe Inc. is a certified CT Charity and a federal 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, that began operations in 2006 at Sather Air Force Base, Baghdad, Iraq, according to their public website. The organization sends coffee and supplies to hundreds of U.S. military troops in 70 countries around the world, including small Forward Operating Bases, hospitals, military vessels and other settings free of charge.
“These donations will help us continue to build relationships with Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Scotty Duncan, 480th ISRW superintendent of religious affairs. “Coffee cultivates conversation for us, and opens the door to meaningful topics, not just surface chats. Coffee brings people into our space and creates an environment where the Airmen feel cared for.”
The Resiliency Cafe serves thousands of cups of coffee and tea annually. This space has become a gathering place for those working in the campus, from uniformed service-members to civilians.
“Coffee is an important part of people’s lives, whether it is the one cup to help them get started for their day, or several throughout,” added Duncan. “The chaplain corps knows that great connections can be made over food and drink.”
The ART is comprised of mental health, physical health and chaplain corps professionals embedded directly within ISR units to provide support and care to the warfighters. ART members have appropriate security clearances which allows them to directly engage with Intel Airmen.
Lt. Col. Jason Knudeson, 480th ISRW chaplain, was quick to note that having the ART embedded in this wing is one of the 480th’s greatest innovations.
“Because of our local partnerships, we are able to connect even more closely to those we are blessed to serve. We will now have delicious coffee available 24/7 for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Community partnerships such as this allow the ART to continue ensuring Airmen are mentally, spiritually, and physically fit to fight.
“Having these connections and resources helps us to take care of Airmen, which is always amazing,” said Duncan. “I think our partners truly understand the mission of the military Chaplain Corps, and because they understand they are able to enhance our impact.”