Blue Star Families Chapter Director, Hang Owen, can’t say enough good things about her Starbucks Military Family Store in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Just after Hang joined Blue Star Families, she was thrown into the deep end of the program pool with the dedication of the military store within a week and the winter holidays right around the corner. Talk about a crazy time when member expectations are high and schedules are packed. Luckily, Starbucks District and Store Managers Michelle Salter and Sheila Traynor were there with open arms to keep her afloat! And they haven’t left her side since.

The team of BSF volunteers and Starbucks staff began with Yellow Ribbon tree events and Military Mondays. In all honesty, there may have been some initial hesitation from the Starbucks staff. Could Hang deliver? She had an ambitious plan, but was it all doable? Quickly, the partnership solidified and programs got off the ground. Now, Michelle and Sheila are constant presences at many BSF events in the community not just those hosted at the Starbucks store.They attend library events, Red White and Blue events, and meetings with counselors on base. BSF takes Starbucks to the base and Starbucks provides a home in the community for military families. Recently, there was a huge Books on Bases​ event as Red Horse Squadron gets ready to deploy. Starbucks came out, setup a coffee bar and served everyone in attendance. They were able to meet with the Squadron Commander and have now formally adopted the unit when they deploy this fall. This adoption effort will have Starbucks working with the school to write notes to deployed service members as well as sending much loved care packages full of coffee! These are most appreciated when units are deployed over the holiday season and a cup of good coffee recognizes their service.

As a result of the wonderful partnership formed between Hang, Michelle and Sheila, we hear that Michelle is working to get each of the Starbucks in her district across the Florida panhandle to adopt a unit. What an amazing goal! Michelle and Sheila are wonderful Blue Star Neighbors.They know the community and help BSF connect with other local businesses. When Hang decided to start a Project Cinderella to help junior military spouses afford gowns for the many military balls and formals that are held, these ladies were right there with contacts at dry cleaners and dress stores across the area. When it became time to gather school supplies for military kids, Michelle motivated all of her Starbucks stores to solicit donations. The big distribution event will be held at Sheila’s military family store on August 5, 2017.

The Florida military community from Pensacola to Jacksonville knows that Starbucks is a true supporter and the best of all possible Blue Star Neighbors! Whether a family is stationed at Eglin AFB, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Whiting Naval Air Station, Duke Army Airfield, Tyndall AFB or Hurlburt Field, they have a community home with Blue Star Families and Starbucks.