Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018
Thank you for your service

Locals buy coffee for veterans, law enforcement and first responders at Hardee’s

Oct 04, 2017

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News


Most mornings Marvin Mallaman can be found enjoying a hot cup of coffee with his buddies at Hardee’s. Wednesday morning, his coffee was free.

The day before a Facebook post began circulating offering free coffee at Hardee’s to veterans, law enforcement and first responders. “Hey Henry County veterans ... spread the word ... Dean Hamilton and I have paid for your coffee at Hardee’s in Mt. Pleasant for tomorrow morning. You know what ... law enforcement and first responders ... you’re covered too!! Thank you for your service!!” Art “Sandman” Tousignant’s post read.

“This is awfully sweet of them,” said Mallaman, an Army veteran. “I felt like I should be buying coffee for someone else.”

Hamilton sat at a small table near the front of the fast-food restaurant, a black Harley-Davidson coffee mug in hand. The idea to buy a cup of coffee for service members was a natural thought for Hamilton, a United States Marine Corp. veteran and Tousignant, a U.S. Army veteran. Both had served in the military for over 20 years.

“Just with everything going on, we wanted to thank our veterans, law enforcement and first responders.” Before Hamilton could finish his sentence, he rose from his seat and shook the hand of a man wearing a Korean War Veteran hat. The veteran thanked him for the coffee and Hamilton is quick to respond, “Thank you for your service.”

“This doesn’t surprise me,” said Brent Rich, an Army National Guard veteran, when he heard Hamilton and Tousignant were behind the free coffee. Rich is a member of the Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association along with Tousignant, who is the Iowa State Representative. “Our motto (for Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association) is vets helping vets,” he says looking around at all the baseball caps with military insignia.

Rich said events like this are crucial for veterans, especially in southeast Iowa where military resources are limited. “If we can do little things like this, it’s great. And in the grand scheme of things, they’re pretty easy to do.”

Hamilton and Tousignant were at Hardee’s from 7 to 11 a.m.

This isn’t the only morning coffee Hamilton and Tousignant plan to do. Tousignant said he’s currently talking to Miss K’s to have coffee and cookies for veterans, law enforcement and first responders.

But it doesn’t stop there. Hamilton and Tousignant are working on bringing a Patriot Rock to Henry County. “There is an Iowa artist who paints patriot rocks (also referred to as Freedom Rocks). Every county in Iowa except for Henry County either has one or has a reservation to paint one.”

The boulder is painted to feature each branch of the United States military. “We have a large veteran population, we have real heroes with stories that most people don’t know,” said Tousignant, noting he wanted to highlight and honor those individuals.

The two have started a nonprofit, Henry County Patriot Rock Association, to raise money for the project. To begin, the organization must raise $1,000 to get licensing rights to call the boulder a Freedom Rock. From there, Hamilton said they would have to establish a location for the monument, which they would likely have to purchase. More information regarding the Patriot Rock can be found on the organization’s Facebook page.

“You see a lot of folks sitting here wearing (military) hats, they’re the heroes,” said Tousignant. “A lot of them don’t want the recognition so this is our way to say thank you.”

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