TULSA, Okla. — For just over a decade, The Coffee Bunker has been providing services to veterans in Tulsa. It was founded to help veterans in their transition from military to civilian life.
Today the Coffee Bunker celebrated its 11th anniversary.
"I do a lot of services, I help with the pantry, I help with some of the cleanings, really anything they need me to get done that I could do, I do," Frederick Lewman, volunteer for the Coffee Bunker said.
Lewman served his country during the Vietnam War, but his transition to civilian life following his military service was not easy.
“That was your objective to fight, they trained you, then you come back to civilian life and you have a hard time because your mind is like, oh, I’m a killing machine, no you can’t kill out here. You’ve got to interact with the society again, which is hard," Lewman said.
A reality that many veterans like him face after completing their service.
The founder of the Coffee Bunker, Mary Legion, understands the struggle Lewman and many veterans face.
Her son Daniel Legion served two deployments in Iraq as a Marine. His transition back into civilian life was not easy.
Mary founded the Coffee Bunker after she lost him to suicide, that tragedy prompted her to create a place for veterans where they could find support and resources.
For the past eleven years, the Coffee Bunker has been offering veterans hope and connecting them to the support and resources that helps them reintegrate into society after their service.
Lewman's life is one of the hundreds of lives the Coffee Bunker has transformed.
He was once homeless, but the Bunker immediately connected him with the support and resources he needed.
They helped him find housing and get access to veteran benefits, their goal was to meet some of his most basic needs.
He now volunteers at the Coffee Bunker every day and sees firsthand the wounds of war many veterans carry.
“The war in Iraq is different because suicide bombers, this and that and it’s hard on a man when you see your friend blown up so you come back home...you’ve got that hurt, I have seen it in the guys that come here, the hurt they have, the sorrow, the confusion," Lewman said.
Lewman gives back with a grateful heart to an organization that has given meaning to his life in many ways and hopes to be there for other veterans like the Coffee Bunker was there for him.
“My heart was just to see our veterans helped and supported, connected together and given resources and to help find what they needed and for the community to get behind it so they wouldn’t feel so isolated by our community, and just to see them renewed and that veterans and families would be spared all this devastation and heartbreak that suicide brings," Legion said.
If you would like to help the Coffee Bunker, Mary says they are always welcoming volunteers and donations.
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