CAMP STRIKER, Iraq (Army News Service, Jan. 3, 2007) - Soldiers at Camp Striker can get free coffee in a relaxed setting at the newly opened "Cuppa Joes."
Built by Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division's 1st Squadron, 89th Calvary Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, the idea for Cuppa Joes started as an idea for a simple coffee shop, but turned into much more.
"Cuppa Joes was an idea that was born to me when my husband and I were thinking about what we could have done (for the Soldiers) during his last deployment," said Andrea Aitken, senior family readiness adviser for the 1st Sqdn., 89th Cav. Regt.
Aitken's idea allowed families to focus on something other than the deployment - a project that would boost Soldiers' morale and provide them with a comfort of home in a foreign land.
A couple months before the squadron deployed, a new chaplain joined the team and took the idea of Cuppa Joes to Iraq. He immediately began gathering such supplies as wood, hammers and nails to make the coffee shop a reality for the Soldiers.
"I helped to gather the supplies for the shop, but the Soldiers built it," said Chaplain (Capt.) Danny Wilson.
The shop also has a television, games and free snacks.
"It is kind of like we have a morale, welfare and recreational center right here," said Command Sgt. Maj. Fred Morris.
After the shop was officially opened, Soldiers poured in to taste the coffee and took time to sit and relax with one another.
"It is nice to have this coffee shop right here ... we do not have to walk across the camp to get a cup of coffee," said Pfc. Jonathan Crump, a personal security detachment gunner with 1-89.
Donations from friend and families of the 1st Sqdn., 89th Cav. Reg., allow the Soldiers to enjoy coffee for free.