Barbara Scruggs, Ph.D., RN, Therapeutic Activities Coordinator, and Scott Blackburn, Operations Manager.
By, Macy Goodnight; Most people who drive past The Coffee Bunker might think it is a trendy coffee bar. Some have even ventured in to ask if they can purchase a cup of coffee. It’s not what you might think. Those who are familiar with the place know that it is a haven and refuge for veterans, and its crucial role needs to be recognized.
Coffee Bunker founder, Mary Ligon, lost her son, Cpl. Daniel Ligon, to suicide after his return from the war in Iraq at 24 years of age in 2004. He suffered from crippling depression, PTSD, and sheer exhaustion after his return. It was Mary’s passion to redeem the tragedy of the devastating death of her son by reaching out to others facing the same silent wounds of war.
The mission of the Coffee Bunker is to meet veterans “where they are,” and help with the transition to family and community life. They are Tulsa’s only peer-run drop-in center, and they provide a family-friendly, alcohol-free and drug-free environment. The 3500 square foot facility is set up for veterans and their families to get together, use a computer, access wi-fi, enjoy games and group activities, watch TV or movies, or just hang out. Coffee and snacks are also available in a warm and inviting lounge where veterans can visit and find support.
Barbara Scruggs, Ph.D., RN, is the Therapeutic Activities coordinator for the center and has experienced loss of her own, making her acutely more aware of the needs that veterans face. “What we have here at the Coffee Bunker is a different picture than what you find anywhere else,” said Barbara. “Our place is a one-of-a-kind place and it’s essential.” In addition to the peer support offered at the facility, representatives are on hand to advocate for Veteran’s benefits. “We have connections to help with benefits forms and assistance getting claims pushed through,” explained Barbara. “This helps to alleviate a lot of the stress veterans face.” There is a lawyer also available to work with veterans on smaller claims issues, and divorce counseling. Counselors are on site to communicate and provide programs, including suicide prevention. Staff receives training to work in this area and will work with families with outreach. “We have a heavy support system here,” said Barbara. “Our peer support specialists are veterans as well and know what they’re going through.”
In addition to counseling, legal and peer support, the center advocates can assist with education and work programs. “We have really great programs and we try to connect veterans with resources in the community that are appropriate for them,” Barbara said.
February 1-28, The Coffee Bunker will be hosting a Veteran’s Art Show at The Hive, 115 South 1st Street, in Jenks. Any and all veterans who might be interested in displaying, and possibly selling their artwork are encouraged to register. Deadline for registration is January 15th. Entrance fee is $15/artist. Registration is available online at www.coffeebunker.org/veterans-art-show, or call and speak with Barbara at (918) 637-3878. Volunteer opportunities are encouraged not only for the event but also anytime at the center.
If you are a veteran and would like more information on programs and assistance, or if you just need someone to talk to, stop in and visit with the wonderful people at The Coffee Bunker. It’s there for you.
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