In an e-mail this morning, Tully’s founder and Chairman Tom O’Keefe explains his support for a coffeehouse for soldiers that a group of veterans opposed to the war hope to open next month. “When I read the newspaper story about a group of young vets who wanted to open a coffee house near Fort Lewis I immediately reached out to them and offered my assistance,” O’Keefe writes. “I thought their story was compelling in that they wanted to help other vets transition back into day to day life outside the military.” O’Keefe, who’s the son of a Marine who served in World War II and the brother of a Vietnam vet, adds that he told the anti-war veterans that “while I didn’t necessarily agree with ‘some’ of their positions, I nonetheless respected their rights, and rights that they fought to protect, to have a different opinion than me.”
O’Keefe also relates a tale to show that he’s used to being in hot water. When he was class president of his senior year of high school in Issaquah, during the Vietnam War, he took stock of the fact that “college deferment wasn’t in the cards for many” and scheduled a draft counselor to speak to his class. “You can’t even imagine the fallout,” he writes.