Most people pay their respects to our military veterans on Veteran’s Day with good reason…our freedom, our liberty, and for some our lives. There are a few individuals that have made it their mission to go out of their way to thank and treat veterans throughout the year. One of those people is local resident Drea Huck. She does it by sending coffee care packages from home to our troops with inspirational notes and messages. Huck currently supports eight active military personnel groups weekly.
Huck’s ties to the military are not by chance. She is from Slovakia, and her father was in the military there. Her father rose to the rank of Major although he is now retired. She said her connection to the military is “in my blood.” She described herself as a “child of the world,” and her first trip to America was with an exchange program to California over 15 years ago.
Now she is a permanent resident and like many in this area, she has a career with Starbucks. She started as a barista, then she managed her own store for a few years where she said, “you see it all.” In her current position as a Facilities Representative at the SSC (Starbucks Support Center), she handles orders from the field with suppliers and vendors. Although she misses seeing her regular customers day in and day out and the great connections she made with them, her new position allows her to make an impact in a different way.
Huck has embraced the “Adopt a Unit” program. She personally packages up about 125 pounds of coffee, and often other treats, for shipment and travels to the post office weekly to ship to deployed troops. She noted that Starbucks donates the coffee for the packages.
You can hear the emotion in Huck’s voice when she speaks of the program and how she cares for the troops she supports. She wants them to know that they have not been forgotten. “I always tell them to be safe,” she said. Huck receives notes, emails and even gifts from soldiers. One recently sent an email that said, “You have no idea how much it means to us to have you support us.”
Huck also shared her pleasure with the fact that her employer’s support of the military goes far beyond the Adopt a Unit program. Starbucks is committed to veterans and military spouses and in the past five years have hired over 17,000 to work in many different capacities for the company. Huck said that this Armed Forces Network program helps soldiers transition from the military to the corporate world. Soldiers most often make terrific employees as “they are disciplined and make great leaders,” she added.
She is also very proud of her involvement in the Marine Raider Foundation. The foundation was established to provide benevolent support to active duty and medically retired Marine Raiders and their families, as well as to the families of Raiders who have lost their lives in service. Huck stressed that many members of the special forces at times are forgotten because “technically they don’t exist.” She wants to be sure they aren’t forgotten. The foundation aims to meet needs unmet by the government with an emphasis on building resiliency and supporting the full reintegration of Raiders and their families to civilian life.
Huck has become a Miles for Marsoc community athlete raising money for the foundation in memory of a fallen soldier Staff Sgt. Sky Mote and others. Mote was awarded the military’s highest honor, the Navy Cross, following his heroic death in Afghanistan in August of 2012. She says of her involvement, “It is the most incredible thing I have ever done.”
As we wrapped up, I asked what her message was to our readers about soldiers with Veteran’s Day approaching. She said, “We can truly live our lives because of them. Don’t forget about them.”
Marine Raider Foundation, https://marineraiderfoundation.org/
Drea Huck’s page, https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/drea-huck/milesformarsoc
Starbucks Veterans Programs, https://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/community/veterans