VFW 2913 and Suffolk County Cmdr. Dave Rogers have successfully continued his Coffee with a Vet program virtually amid the coronavirus crisis, which has forced people into home isolation. The social hour is scheduled via Zoom each day at noon, though the group held their first “happy hour” Zoom meeting last Friday at 5 p.m., and all who attended were encouraged to “dress up.”
“We are trying to switch it up,” Rogers said, explaining that in the beginning (last month) it was mainly to discuss their wellbeing and the status of the virus.
The idea behind Coffee with a Vet came about three years ago. Rogers hosts coffee socials at the local Patchogue Village Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company every few months.
“I wanted to give people a chance to connect,” he continued.
Upon going virtual, he explained that about four or five regulars and about three or four more would check in with each other and talk about what is going on. Since then, he said, the group has moved on to topics and themes like movie and TV quotes, where participants came with quotes and the others had to guess it. They also did a truth-and-lie event, where everyone was prompted to say four truths and one lie and the rest of the group had to guess the lie.
“Last week, we also did a karaoke [day],” he added, explaining that it was a fun success and a way to escape what’s going on in the world.
Of the seven or eight daily participants, some tune in from as far away as California, Alabama and Kansas City. Though the majority are vets, Rogers said, all are encouraged to join in, hoping more civilians will take part. Next up will be a live drawing done by an art professor for people to follow along; Suffolk County Legislature presiding officer Rob Calarco might even join in one day.
“I look forward to joining the Zoom meeting every day because, as a civilian having no direct experience with military life, I am learning about the priorities, values, character and struggles of veterans from all branches, near and far,” said Tara Ann, of Bay Shore, after tuning in to last Tuesday’s karaoke day. “This insight helps me focus on what more I can do to support them and their initiatives.”
There are no fees or need to sign up; simply log on to Zoom or call the number using the ID 394-023-627 and password 588719 to connect with or without video. People of all ages have been engaging, from their early 20s to their mid-80s. For more information visit Dave Rogers’s or the Suffolk County Council VFW’s Facebook pages.