In old coffee pots filled with grounds scrounged from barren PX shelves or the mess hall, java is brewed for Nevada National guardsmen serving in Iraq.
"The coffee situation here in Iraq, it's not that great," said 72nd Military Police Company First Sgt. Jacob Gonzales.
But the quality of coffee will change when 72nd receives a 200-pound shipment of Starbucks coffee collected from Northern Nevada stores in Sparks, Reno and Carson City. The donation was packaged up Wednesday afternoon at the Starbucks store on North Carson Street.
In an e-mail with the subject line: "Wow! 200 lbs!" Gonzales, stationed in Camp Bucca, Iraq, was thrilled by the news: "I'm writing this with a huge smile ... that's just awesome!"
The group's 10-month deployment to the Persian Gulf began in January.
"Generally speaking, the majority of the soldiers have found themselves a coffee maker - usually used - with a good dark-brown stain around the glass. Of course that just adds to the flavor," Gonzales wrote. "Starbucks coffee that tastes good? That'll be a treat!"
Starbucks Northern Nevada District Manager Tim Grever said Starbucks has been running a program for over a year that when a customer purchases a pound of coffee, they are asked if they'd like to buy a pound for the U.S. troops in Iraq.
After collecting 300 pounds of coffee, Grever looked for a way to distribute it to the troops. He found that way through Carson City's P.J. Degross, founder of Web of Support, a grass-roots organization that matches service members deployed to Iraq with local families who then send care packages to the troops.
Degross said in addition to the 200 pounds of coffee going to Nevada soldiers, 50 pounds are being shipped to 101st Airborne soldiers and another 50 pounds are slated for a convoy support center in Al Taquaddum, Iraq.
A majority of the coffee came from private donations, but postage to get the packages via U.S. Mail to Iraq will be paid for by Starbucks.
"Please let everyone in Carson know that we - all the soldiers of the 72nd Military Police Company - appreciate their generosity and their compassion," Gonzales wrote. "Nevada has a very, very fine young group of men and women here in Iraq working daily, around the clock on the War on Terror."
Kathy Brockway, whose son Aaron Brockway is deployed to Iraq with the 72nd MP Company, was emotional when she learned of the coffee donation."That's great because the Girl Scouts are sending them cookies, so they can wash them down with the coffee," she said. Then she apologized as she caught her breath.
"I'm going to cry because it's going to my son."
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.
To volunteer with Web of Support, visit webofsupport.com or write to P.J. Degross at PJdahling@aol.com.