Tully's Founder Backs Soldiers' Coffeehouse


Tom O'Keefe

Tully’s founder and ChairmanTom O’Keefe is supporting a coffeehouse for soldiers that anti-war activists plan to open next month on the outskirts of Fort Lewis. O’Keefe is donating about $15,000 worth of equipment, including an espresso machine, tables and chairs, according to Seth Manzel, co-director of GI Voice Inc., a Lakewood area group that is spearheading the effort along with the local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

It’s fairly hot water for O’Keefe to jump into. The folks behind the coffeehouse are plain about their politics. Manzel, for instance, called just yesterday to tell me about a stunt he and other activists were planning for late this morning when the Army is scheduled to set up a recruiting table and climbing wall at the University of Washington. The activists intended to approach the recruiters dressed like students, then scale the wall with an Iraq Veterans Against the War banner stuffed into their baggy pants, which they would then unfurl when they got to the top. No word yet on how this stunt, which is supposed to happen around 11:30, is proceeding.

Manzel, however, says that the coffeehouse -- to be called “Coffee Strong” after the slogan “Army Strong” -- will be somewhat neutral terrain. Although he expects Iraq Veterans Against the War to have a desk there, as well as The GI Rights Hotline, a coalition of organizations that advise discontent soldiers about their rights, he says, “it’s not going to be pushing anything in anybody’s face.” He says he’s hoping to offer referral services to Seattle-area therapists willing to donate their time.

O'Keefe hasn't yet returned a call for comment.

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