MILITARY MATTERS: Veterans upset about Afghanistan aftermath getting help with coffee and camaraderie

Military Matters
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTVM) - Vets who served in Afghanistan came together for coffee and conversation recently in East Georgia, looking for an outlet to express feelings as they watch the Taliban seize power. It’s part of a team effort by a business and veteran organizations.

Anthony Valdez served 20 years in the army in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He says what’s happening in Afghanistan is heartbreaking.

“It’s upsetting in some ways. All the work that we’ve done to try to build on things to help Afghanistan become a better country. I felt some kind of way about how things are going down,” said Valdez.

He says veterans like him need an outlet to just talk.

“Just getting to share their experiences and kinda get it out, it makes it easier to come to terms with what’s happened, what went on, and like I said it’s therapeutic,” he added.

They’re doing that through camaraderie and coffee in the Savannah area. It started with Tosa Coffee Company Owner Eric Rice putting out a call on Facebook. He opened the doors of his restaurant to any veterans who needed support.

“No expectations. There’s no alcohol involved so people aren’t inebriated and going out there and having you know, the wrong discussions,” said Rice.

Team Savannah for Veterans and Fight the War Within teamed up with the coffee shop to give veterans community support. As a 21-year army veteran whose had multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Chris O’Malley says now is the time to come together.

“It’s very confusing. There’s feelings of resentment and anger as well as happiness that other veterans and other military don’t have to spend time over there,” said Team Savannah for Veterans’ O’Malley.

Tosa Coffee hopes this is just a start and it turns into a monthly event.

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