PARKER, Colo. — A local coffee shop owner is giving back to some of his most loyal customers.
He’s planning a big fundraiser Aug. 10 to raise thousands of dollars for a veterans charity that is changing lives.
“I support our military who come in and that’s really what it’s all about,” Wes Crespi, owner of Coffee Cabin, told FOX31.
The pro-military bumper stickers, signs and flags stuck to the walls of his tiny coffee shop at South Parker Road and Ponderosa Drive aren’t the only ways he’s showing support.
Crespi is hosting and organizing the Coffee Cabin Salute to Heroes fundraiser for Project Healing Waters. The event is Saturday, Aug. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at The Barn at Rancho Vaya con Dios in Castle Rock.
Every year, Crespi picks a different veterans charity to support. This year, the inspiration came from his father-in-law, who is a volunteer with Project Healing Waters.
Jim Heinrich is a Vietnam veteran who has suffered in silence for a half-century.
“I have an extreme case of PTSD,” Heinrich told FOX31.
A while back, Heinrich attended a fishing getaway with the charity. It changed his life.
“When you’re fly fishing, you can’t think about anything but fly fishing,” Heinrich said.
Project Healing Waters takes veterans to the great outdoors, where nature works its healing wonders on men and women with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and other war wounds.
Brady Busby is proof it works. War nearly ended his life. Fishing, he says, saved it.
“I was deployed seven times. I was diagnosed with PTSD after my third tour in Iraq. I was outside when a mortar landed and ended my career,” Busby told FOX31.
“(Fishing is) a form of mindfulness. Just being out on the creek where you don’t have to worry about anything except being on the creek. It’s very therapeutic,” he said.
When Busby’s daughter died by suicide a year ago, it was fly fishing that helped him get through the pain.
“That really helped calm me down, and ground me,” he said.
“I’m with like-minded veterans who can understand what I’ve been through,” said Navy veteran Joseph Drake, who also volunteers with the charity. “If it wasn’t for Project Healing Waters, I would be sitting in my depression rather than standing in the middle of a river.”
Given those testimonials about the non-profit, Crespi is “all in.”
“My father-in-law suffered really bad, and he’s such a good guy and he’s very humble. And it was really important for me to do something, and this is what I picked because I saw what he suffered through,” Crespi said.
Every day, he serves coffee to those who served. Now, he’s preparing to serve them much more. And that’s where you come in.
Crespi is selling tickets to the Coffee Cabin Salute to Heroes fundraiser for Project Healing Waters. You can get the tickets at his Parker coffee shop. They’re $100 each, but that includes dinner, open bar, music, valet — and some surprises. Crespi says every dollar raised goes to the charity.
He’s also holding a silent auction for Project Healing Waters. Auction items include:
— Condo in Puerta Cabos Village in Mexico for one week
— Cigar humidor filled with premium cigars and one-year membership to Slow Burn Cigars
— Aerobatic flying lessons from Aspen Flying Club at Centennial Airport
For information on the event and additional information on auction items, visit the Facebook page about the fundraiser.