(Army) Strong Coffee
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A new Georgetown bakery does so much more than coffee and cookies—they train, hire, inspire and educate disabled veterans and their families. Named accordingly, Dog Tag Bakery opens in December.
Every six months a new class of wounded veterans, and the occasional spouse, is selected for the program, which includes a partnership with Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. The veterans split their time between learning how to run a business in a classroom setting and actually baking, brewing and managing operations. “We're rehabilitating soldiers into leaders and launching their futures—bread happens to be the vehicle,” Father Richard Curry tells us. He’s one of the founders, together with Connie Milstein; both have a philanthropic history of supporting the military. We snapped Father Curry with GM Justin Ford, COO Meghan Ogilvie and advisor Tammy Haddad.
Why a bakery? “Bread is therapeutic in its own right. It’s important for veterans to produce a physical product,” Father Curry tells us. The doors will open Dec. 4. Expect to cozy up in the warm brick building with a cup of (G.I.) Joe and some treats, while admiring cool details such as an original dog tag machine (pictured). Visitors can use it to make two dog tags honoring service members—one to keep; the other becomes part of a chandelier-like art installation made from the tags. The creativity continues online with their clever hashtag, #KneadToServe.
Dog Tag Bakery isn’t the only coffee shop in town with military ties. Two former Marines who toured together in Afghanistan—Harrison Suarez and Michael Haft—recently opened Compass Coffee in Shaw. We snapped them next to their massive coffee roaster. They craft a handful of tasty blends using beans from around the world as well as single-origin coffee. It makes perfect sense that Compass Coffee is Dog Tag Bakery’s coffee partner. Michael and Harrison are producing a special Dog Tag Bakery blend in addition to pitching in by training veterans on the equipment.