LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - As many as 10 to 15 of our nation's heroes come together every weekday morning to fellowship over coffee at United Market Street at 50th and Indiana. They say it's an important and healthy friendship that involves sharing stories of their time in the service and everyday life.
"Most of the stuff we talk about is not the bad stuff," Marine Veteran Marion Barnett said. "It's the good stuff and funny stuff and there's plenty of that that goes around."
As he was getting coffee many years ago Barnett, who served in Vietnam, was spotted by Air Force Veteran Danny Cook and that started the group known as the Uniformed Services Coffee Group 1.The pair have known each other since the age of 14 but had been separated by work and service to our country.
"Eventually, we saw some people we knew would come in," Cook said. "A few people would come in with just veterans hats on and we would talk to them and they might start drinking coffee with us."
One of those guys was Army Veteran Jerry Smith who served in Korea. He tells KCBD NewsChannel 11 the group spotted his hat when he came in for coffee.
"I enjoy it very much," Smith said. "It's a way to keep active. I'm on up in years as you may realize but it's a way to keep active and keep in contact with people, meet new friends. It's been a great thing for us."
Group 1 isn't the only group of veterans that gather for coffee on a regular basis there. A group of WWII veterans meet every Monday. Navy Veteran Frank Sikes, who sailed as an officer on USS Little Rock meets with a couple of other Air Force veterans.
"Whether you are enlisted or an officer or whatever there is a certain bond that anyone who serves in the military shares with each other," Sikes said. "So, after all these years you can get together and relive the stories and hear some of them."
Some of those stories are like the one from Vietnam and behind Army Veteran Ed McClure's Purple Heart.
"There were a lot of heroes that came back from over there and there were a lot that didn't," McClure said. "I got mine trying to save the life of a man that gave his for me. I made it home and he didn't. He came home in a box."
McClure and the rest of the group say they will be coming for coffee and those stories as long as they are able.
"It's very important to me," McClure said. "It means a lot to me. I can't imagine not doing it. I can't remember what I did before."
The group arrives at Market Street around 8:30-9:00 a.m. on weekdays.