Military Order

 of the

Purple Heart

 

    Texas Capital Chapter 1919

   Austin, Texas

 

 e-mail:


 

PURPLE HEART COFFEE BAR IN THE

VA OUTPATIENT CLINIC

…service beyond belief…

Every day that the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic opened its doors to patients, Chapter 1919 was there serving, free of charge, coffee, orange juice and snack packets, to the disabled veterans going there for treatment.   We did this for many years and typically spent more than $7,000 each year on that project while scheduling a staff of about 20 volunteers who take turns manning the serving cart.  This was the biggest and best thing that we have done. With the opening of the new clinic in 2013, VA decided they would provide this service, but we still provide volunteers to man the coffee tables.

 

The coffee bar at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic open its doors on November 17, 1996 with only a handful of patriots serving coffee once a week. As time went on, more Chapter 1919 members, wives, and friends volunteered and we started serving coffee every day the clinic was open. When the VA clinic closed and moved to their new location on July 3, 2013, we had more than 22 individuals volunteering each month. The moving of the clinic to the new location would mean that the VA volunteer services would be taking over the responsibilities and duties of providing the supplies and all the operations of the coffee bar.

 

The last four years of the coffee bar, we served an average of 54,500 cups annually. Beside coffee, we served 8,000 cans of orange juice and 30,000 graham cracker snacks every year. During the cold months, we had hot cocoa, hot green tea and sometimes for special occasions donuts, cookies, and fruits. What made the coffee bar special were the people. In the beginning, we had mostly WWII patriots. Many were husband and wife teams, like the Dyes, the Ellis, the Seidls, the Lingos, the Herefords, the Castillos and father and sons teams, the Farmers and the Chapas. Not all volunteers were members. During the years, we had high school and college students, patriots' kids and grandkids helping. Some volunteers were just veterans that wanted to give back to the community and many were not veterans. We had a retired non-veteran school teacher who drove from Smithville once a month to serve coffee. We had mothers whose sons were in the military that volunteered two or three times a month. One volunteer retired at the age of 90 and another because he could not see early in the morning when it was dark. We had volunteers from all around Austin. They came from Nixon, Dripping Springs, Round Rock, Georgetown, Smithville, Leander, Cedar Park, Bastrop and many other surrounding towns. All these volunteers were there at 6 AM in the morning to set up and be ready to serve coffee when the clinic opens at 7:30 with a big smile. Volunteers were not just serving coffee, they talked to the patients and helped them in any way they could.

 

Yes, it was a sad day after sixteen years of serving our country's veterans at the clinic. But, nevertheless many volunteers still are helping at the new VA clinic in different areas of the clinic. Those were the days and you can look back and say “I was there and I helped". Then you realize that you did make a difference in the life of a veteran.

 

Coffee Bar

VA Clinic Austin

COMING SOON

Logo for the New Improved Coffee Bar

The Farmer Family

Coffee Bar Helpers

The Castro Family

Coffee Bar Helpers

Virgil and Billie Ellis in an earlier Christmas photo

Working the Coffee Bar

July 3, 2013 - Last Day of Coffee Bar

Jim Farmer and Raymond Diaz

Ray Diaz scheduled the volunteers for the last several years