FLORENCE, Ky. (AP) - Former Army field artillery officer Chris Sharkey knows soldiers can use a good coffee break from time to time.
The catch is, the coffee most soldiers have access to isn't very good, said Sharkey, who served from 1995 through 2000.
So Sharkey, the owner of Jet Coffee in Florence, is sending members of the 2nd Alpha Battery of the 138th Field Artillery Battalion in Afghanistan freshly roasted, specialty grade coffee from the United States.
"If you've already been up for 20 hours, and it's your turn to take watch that night, coffee is a Godsend," Sharkey said. "If it's great coffee, then it's a real treat for a soldier."
Sharkey started collecting donations in May from patrons to his cafe. He raised enough to ship 20 pounds of coffee beans, a coffee grinder and Jet Coffee traveler mugs overseas, which the soldiers received in recent days.
The idea sprung up after a talk with Jet Coffee employee Kori Flannery, whose husband, Spc. Terry Flannery, serves with the Field Artillery Battalion in Afghanistan. Kori Flannery said her husband told her the coffee over there was "thick as mud."
Kori Flannery said her husband said opening the package was like opening a Christmas present. On Tuesday, Sharkey said they shipped another batch, including 90 pounds of coffee beans and coffee mugs.
"I owe a debt to the current soldiers that serve during a time of war," Sharkey said.
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer,