Medical and military personnel across Fort Gordon are receiving expressions of liquid gratitude thanks to a recent special delivery.
Fort Gordon received a shipment of 32 pallets stacked high with boxes of donated coffee, hot cocoa, and tea; the majority being K-cups with some bags mixed in. The donation arrived courtesy of Holy Joe’s Café, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “serve a little bit of home to those who serve our country.”
In previous years, the nonprofit primarily focused on delivering to service members deployed overseas but recognizes Fort Gordon has a unique mission with many who are “deployed in place” around the clock. In recent months, Keurig Dr. Pepper (formerly Green Mountain Coffee), one of the nonprofit’s largest donors, wanted to put an emphasis on those serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle.
“They recognize the outstanding support of Fort Gordon's first responders and medical team, said Chaplain (Maj.) Tracy Hudgins, 706th Military Intelligence Group and NSA-Georgia chaplain.
Hudgins, who received the shipment on Fort Gordon’s behalf, said it was fitting that the first pallets went to Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
“Our first responders have been working tirelessly taking care of many of the ‘deployed in place’ [service members] here on Fort Gordon, and they have really gone out of their way to provide as many of the Fort Gordon military personnel the vaccine as possible, working long hours, making that happen,” Hudgins said.
Lt. Col. Terry Simmons, Department of Ministry and Pastoral Care chief at EAMC, said the delivery was a welcome sight, as was evident Monday morning when distribution began in front of EAMC’s main entrance. With the onslaught of additional missions, such as vaccinations, to taking care of sick patients and working long hours, the outpouring of gratitude was appreciated.
“This coffee will give extra strength and a calming effect to our staff who are helping those who are struggling, and I think this is going to make a big impact because not only that, but I think that it also brings up the morale of our workers – both civilian and military – who are feeling worn out and unappreciated at times,” Simmons said. “These are people who are going beyond what their work statement is, and this is showing a little pat on their back, saying ‘good job,’ and ‘thank you.’”
Staff Sgt. Philip Matherly, Intensive Care Unit NCOIC, said the show of support was greatly appreciated, adding that there are “a lot of coffee drinkers” on his floor will be pleasantly surprised when they see the unit’s freshly stocked breakroom.
“The staff works 24 hours a day, 12-hour shifts, so it’s always good for them to have those pick-me-ups throughout their shift,” Matherly said.
The remaining pallets of coffee will be distributed to unit ministry teams who will then distribute to the units they support. Some will stay in their respective chaplain’s offices and become the first ingredient in a recipe for conversation.
“Somebody shows up for a cup of coffee, and then that relationship begins to get established with the chaplain,” Hudgins explained. “It may be a cup of coffee today, but tomorrow they may open up about something going on in their life.”
An additional 40 pallets of donations are on the way and will be distributed to the remaining UMTs at a later date.
“You want to be able to give back hope – to give back strength – and that is what’s going on here,” Simmons said.