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NWI Starbucks unite to beautify local veterans home

Wanting to demonstrate that they are more than just a coffee shop, NWI Starbucks District 688 gave back to veterans for their years of service.

Partners from 13 NWI Starbucks businesses united to beautify Veterans Life Changing Services (VLCS) in Gary with coats of paint, carpet cleaning, reorganization and a general spring cleaning on Saturday.

“We’re more than just a coffee shop. We’re about people and helping people is what matters. Life is short. We never know about tomorrow,” said Brian Spiller, district manager of Starbucks. “This is our way to say thank you.”

Spiller added, “Being kinder puts good cosmic juices out there. Little acts of kindness have a ripple effect in the world. If you’re blessed and in a good place, help people by paying it forward.”

VLCS is designed specifically for veterans and their families, to assist service personnel with housing, clinical support services and in their transition back to civilian life.

“There aren’t enough services like VLCS out there,” said Spiller. “We definitely need more of the services they offer.”

Among the volunteers was Starbucks Portage Manager Colleen Domazet whose family members served in the military, one of whom found himself struggling to transition into civilian life.

“He was confused and distraught on how to live life because military life is what they know,” said Domazet. “It hurt to see him like that. VLCS helps people find themselves again.”

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Quinton Wilson, pictured pouring paint is from Florida. Wilson spent his vacation painting at VLCS on Saturday.

Darrell Bolton, an Air Force veteran and resident of Florida, was visiting his son, Bobby Bolton, who is a partner at the Starbucks in Valparaiso. Bolton found out his son was volunteering and decided to spend his vacation painting at VLCS.

“The military taught us about community services and to keep helping people that we live and serve with and this translated into my life after serving,” said Bolton who spends time ministering in the Philipines. “Places like this warms my heart. They [veterans] aren’t alone. They are taken care of here and assisted to transition back into society.”

Speaking about Lorese Wesley, executive director of VLCS, Spiller explained that he loves watching Wesley interact with the residents and volunteers and considers her a “true servant leader.”

“She leads from the heart like a form of ministry,” said Spiller. “She’s great at what she does. That’s measured by seeing the growth and development of the people who go through this program and watching them return to help others.”

For more information on Veterans Life Changing Services, contact Lorese Wesley at 219-455-6689 or visit

Veterans Life Changing Services is a non-profit organization designed to provide clinical support services and temporary housing to Northwest Indiana and Illinois veterans and their families.

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