Veterans from all eras come together in the Piedmont for coffee & conversation

Piedmont Triad News

(WGHP) — They have been happening for years.

The atmosphere has always been casual, and everyone is still welcome, but these days, veteran’s coffees look a little different.

They’re happening virtually but still drawing plenty of attendees.

Don Timmons served in Vietnam and is now a Veterans Support Coordinator with the nonprofit Trellis Supportive Care. He organizes the events and says the pandemic hasn’t changed the nonprofit’s mission. “Our goal really is to connect veterans themselves and connect veterans to activities and resources that are related to them and their service and each other,” Timmons said.

Before COVID-19, more than 60 events a year happened in venues across the Piedmont. Today, veterans, family members and supporters can still connect from their living rooms.

In addition to catching up with each other, they receive updates from Veterans Affairs representatives and hear from guest speakers.

Some discussions are emotional. Others are light-hearted. Many don’t focus on military service at all.

“You might think it’s a bunch of veterans sitting around telling war stories. but it really isn’t. There’s some of that, just talking about the history of being in the military. But it’s about friendships, it’s about families and it’s about what are you doing now and what have you done,” Timmons said.

There isn’t talk of religion or politics and no one is ever trying to sell a good or service.

Timmons says there is conversation about important decisions — those made during military service, and those still ahead.

“Veterans, sometimes depending on where they were and what they did, have very unique experiences to have to reconcile at end of life,” Timmons said. “About 20% of our country’s population that is at end of life are veterans so we want to make sure we inform veterans and the public about the importance and the special care that’s involved with hospice care.”

When it comes to resuming in-person events, Timmons says he is hopeful it can happen safely early next year.

Until then, whether the coffee is brewed in a café or the kitchen, veterans from all eras will continue sipping and sharing. “Sometimes I just look out over the audience and just think how much history is really in this room,” Timmons said.

The next veterans coffee is happening November 17.

If you are a veteran and are interested in attending, or are looking for resources, you can contact Don Timmons at DTimmons@trellissupport.org or by calling (336) 403-1964.

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