When you drop $5 for a caramel macchiato, you probably don’t realize that you’re actually helping our nation’s service members. But thanks to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s devotion to social responsibility, standing up for veterans is as easy as buying your morning coffee.
In a recent interview with CBS News, Shultz announced that he is donating an extraordinary $30 million to help with the rehabilitation of our returning soldiers, putting the money towards research into brain trauma and PTSD — ailments that thousands of warriors suffer from. (According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD afflicts anywhere from 11 to 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.) Also part of the plan? Starbucks’s commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and their spouses over the course of the next five years.
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Shultz told CBS’s Scott Pelley that the government does a much better job of sending people to war than they do bringing them home. “These young men and women, who are coming home from multiple deployments, are not coming home to a parade,” he said. “They’re not coming home to a celebration. They’re coming home to an American public that really doesn’t understand, and never embraced, what these people have done.”
He described the heartbreaking experience of seeing a severely wounded soldier at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. “A young, 21-year-old warrior who had lost both his legs was being wheeled around by his mother. And you ask yourself, ‘If that was my son or my daughter, how would we respond?’ And I think my responsibility now is I have seen things, and I’ve heard things and I’ve met these people and their families, and you just can’t be a bystander. You have to do everything you can to tell their story and help them.”
Howard Schultz has certainly taken a big step in doing just that—and we salute him for it.