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Local Blue Star Group Keeps Focus On Soldiers
Kiwi the dog has a bit of a foam mustache after stopping at the Starbucks Drive Thru and being served by Staff Sgt. Lawrence Cox while owner Kama Robinson waited for her drink order at the East F Street location. It was during the recent Coffee with a Soldier event. Marg Jackson/The Leader

With events like ‘Coffee with a Soldier’, which was hosted at the Oakdale Starbucks at 325 E. F St., recently, the local Mid-Cal Blue Star Moms want to keep military members in the hearts and minds of those in the community.

As part of the special event, active duty personnel from the U.S. Army recruiting office in Modesto made a stop in Oakdale to serve up coffee, samples of sweet treats and some smiles for Starbucks customers.

Originally from Texas, Staff Sergeant Lawrence Cox did a turn in the drive thru and distributed the coffee and food orders as well as making friends with some furry companions that drivers had in their vehicles with them.

Elsewhere, Shift Supervisor Barb Wilks and Sgt. First Class Thomas Bierman had plates of treats to offer customers.

“Just getting out and meeting the people around the community,” Bierman said of what he was enjoying about the day. “It’s giving back to the community.”

Not only did the U.S. Army personnel work a few hours, the Mid-Cal Blue Star Moms organization was also on site, collecting items to make up holiday gift boxes to ship to military personnel for the Christmas season.

Past President Charilyn Damigo said Starbucks initiated the ‘Coffee with a Soldier’ event and they were happy to come and represent the local Blue Star group.

“We packed 80 boxes Monday,” she said of getting packages ready to ship off to military personnel serving away from home for the holidays. “We did 25 boxes two weeks ago.”

They are always looking for donations and strive to send a small taste of home to those that can’t get home at this time of year.

“We’ll send them anywhere and everywhere,” Damigo added. “Even if they’re serving stateside, it’s nice to have a little love sent from home.”

Notes and coloring pages from youngsters are included in the boxes as well.

Project Heroes was also represented and Starbucks manager Desarae Stanton said they are hoping to partner with the soldiers to present this effort once a month. The next one is scheduled for Jan. 15, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Mid-Cal Blue Star Moms meet the second Monday of the month at Round Table Pizza in Riverbank at 6 p.m.

Past President of the Mid-Cal Blue Star Moms group, Charilyn Damigo, shows some of the colorful pages done by local youngsters that are added to the care packages sent to military personnel that won’t be able to get home for the holidays. Marg Jackson/The Leader