It takes a whole lot of good people to get a concept like Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe up and running. Our veterans are proud to have the support of these great companies in the Chicagoland area. Thank you to every one. If you’re not on the list, get involved today. If we’ve missed your company, send us a logo so we can get it up on the site today!
Coyote Logistics Starts Every Day with a Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe
For many of us, our days don’t truly begin until we’ve had our morning cup of coffee. At Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe, that sentiment couldn’t ring more true. It’s been a coffee-fueled journey filled with hard-work, dedication, passion, and an unwavering mission to support United States Veterans. We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that Chicago-based, Coyote Logistics, is the proud first customer of Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe. For Coyote, it was our story that caught their attention, but they’re staying for the coffee’s great taste.
The rich story behind this coffee and how it’s roasted is what makes this endeavor so special. Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe is the brainchild of Rags of Honor, a Chicago-based silk screen company operated by homeless and unemployed veterans. Mark Doyle founded Rags of Honor in 2012 after returning home from a year in Afghanistan as a civilian working on an anti-corruption task force. His job was to analyze funds and discover who in the battle space was stealing money and where that money was going.
Once he was stateside, Mark became acutely aware and frustrated with the high unemployment rate for veterans and wanted to make a change. With no business plan, no market knowledge, and no experience in the silk screen industry, but armed with a passionate idea and the drive to make a difference, Mark decided to create Rags of Honor. This endeavor would be a company giving veterans the opportunity to get back into the workforce and develop new skill sets. Their mission is simple: “They had our back, let’s keep the shirt on theirs.”
Rags of Honor began in a former marine’s basement with four employees in 2012. Currently, Mark employs 15—and growing—full-time veterans in a warehouse space in Avondale, helping to reacclimate veterans back into civilian society. He wanted to give veterans the opportunity to learn another life skill, perhaps one they never would have learned before, all the while allowing them the opportunities to support themselves and their families.
In addition to the life-saving impact Rags of Honor has had on local veterans, it is also responsible for reuniting Mark with his now wife Kip. Having met years ago, it was Mark’s work with Rags of Honor that compelled Kip to reconnect with him while she was working on a Veteran Suicide Prevention PSA for the National Veterans Foundation. With a shared passion for supporting veterans, together they are working on the next chapter of Rags of Honor. This is where Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe comes in.
So, why coffee? Aside from the fact that most Americans drink coffee every day, the saying “cup of joe” has origins that tie back to the military. The story goes that in 1913, the Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels issued Order 99, which banned alcohol on all naval ships. With that, the strongest drink a sailor could get was a cup of coffee, which they began referring to as a “cup of joe.”
Knowing the strong ties coffee has to the military, Mark and Kip decided that roasting coffee would be the perfect next opportunity. The roasting business, while more peaceful than the silk screen business, appealed to military veteran Alicia. After enduring a difficult and tumultuous time in the service, she returned home to Chicago and found herself homeless alongside her three children. Alicia had been a dedicated employee of Rags of Honor, but the loud and crowded environment was not the best fit for her. Alicia found the roasting business more calming and nurturing, which helped heal some of the trauma she endured while in the military.
After working alongside a local roasting company, Passion House Coffee Roasters, and learning the tricks of the trade, Alicia is now proudly roasting coffee for Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe. She has learned new skills, gained knowledge, and takes extensive pride in the work she is doing every day. It was thanks to her jobs at Rags of Honor and Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe that finally enabled Alicia to move out of the shelter and into her own apartment. We are now seeing the same success in our latest Veteran hire, Pedro Diaz.
Companies like Rags of Honor and Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe and people like Mark and Kip Doyle are doing so much to positively impact the lives of United States veterans. What drives their mission is the stories of each and every veteran they come in contact with. Many veterans return from service without a home to return to. Mark and Kip have given these veterans the means to create their own homes and with that they have created a family—a group of veterans who will do anything for each other. This isn’t just a company, it’s a home.