Not even COVID can stop this community over coffee! The Wounded Heroes Fund kicked off their first Veterans' Coffee get together today since the pandemic, with some Honor Flight Members in attendance.
Ninety-six-year-old Hughey Young drove himself all the way from Wasco to Bakersfield this morning to have coffee with his fellow vets.
“I just wanted to get out of the house and escape for a little while!” Young said.
His 'escape' happened to be the first Wounded Heroes Fund Veterans' Coffee since the pandemic. The wounded heroes fund started in Bakersfield back in 2009 to help vets find community and support post-service.
At the Wounded Heroes Fund's Veterans' coffee, Young can be found telling stories from World War II and his years in the Kern County Honor Flight, which he has been a part of since its beginnings in 2012.
"There were twenty-one of us, and we had no rules to go by, so Glory Crown made up the rules as she went!" Young said.
Organizers it was this sense of community that the Wounded Heroes fund decided to pick things back off at their new location on Standard Street.
“No matter what era or generation they came from, they all speak a similar language. Being able to sit down and share stories, and not have to explain things, even some may feel they have to justify some things," Wendy Porter, Executive Director and Founder of the Wounded Heroes Fund said. "They don’t have to do that here, they don’t have to do that with other veterans. They can just be themselves and be in a comfortable, safe environment. I think it means more than we can imagine.”
Of course the get-togethers look a little different during a pandemic: They take your temperature when you come through the doors, provide masks if wanted, sanitizing stations and have set tables six feet apart.
The Veterans' Coffee will commence every third Tuesday of the month, but Porter says veterans can stop in the wounded heroes fund building at any time!