Lynnwood’s Hero’s Cafe celebrated its first anniversary on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
The cafe, which is held inside the Verdant Wellness Center on the fourth Tuesday of every month, gives local veterans a chance to get together and share in the camaraderie of being veterans. Fresh coffee and cookies are also provided.
Though the cafe is one of the Lynnwood’s several veteran-centered initiatives, many nearby associations, including multiple Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts and Edmonds Community College actively participate and support the cafe.
Desert Storm veteran Gary Walderman gave the opening remarks during the anniversary celebration, saying he was honored to have been a part of creating the Hero’s Cafe and watching it grow. He later thanked the dozens of community organizations that have expressed support for the cafe.
He said over 400 veterans and veteran supporters have come through the cafe in the past year.
Mayor Nicola Smith wished participants a happy anniversary.
“Thank you for letting me be part of this family,” she said.
Councilmember Shannon Sessions said she’s not surprised the cafe has been such a success.
“Give it to a veteran, they’re going to get it done,” she said. “The amount of people we get regularly at the resource center and here at this fellowship is probably triple the amount that we hoped for.” Sessions is also an Air Force veteran.
A special table was set at the front of the room to honor military members who never made it home. The table included a single plate, set on a round table to show concern is never-ending for those who are missing. A slice of lemon is on the plate to symbolize their bitter fate. A glass is inverted on the table because those who are missing cannot join their friends in a drink today.
The Hero’s Cafe will open again on Tuesday, Feb. 27 starting at 9 a.m. The veterans one-stop resource center is open every Tuesday starting at 9 a.m.
The Verdant Wellness Center is located at 4710 196th St. S.W. in Lynnwood. To view its full calendar of events, click here.
–Story and photos by Natalie Covate