For Caribou Coffee District Manager Cory Fruit, Veterans Day takes on a personal meaning each year when November rolls around. Thirteen years ago, Fruit enlisted in the Army Reserves and has completed three deployments in the Middle East. In both of his career endeavors, while vastly different, one thing remains the same: Cory loves to serve.
Cory credits part of his success as a District Manager to his experiences in the army. “I was deployed to Iraq and Kuwait and assisted in operations supporting 23 countries…It provided me opportunities to grow, serve alongside some of the best men and women that I’ve ever met, and make a difference in the lives of others.”
Serving with love
Cory says his favorite part of being a District Manager is working alongside his team. For many team members, Caribou Coffee is their first job and Cory recognizes the weight this experience holds. “We strive to create an environment where our team members feel genuinely cared about. I believe that’s what differentiates us.”
Another differentiating factor is Caribou Coffee’s core values. The two that resonate most with Cory: Be Yourself and Serve with Love. He says, “They are the ‘why’ I show up every day because they make a difference.”
The beauty of these core values is they look different for everybody who embodies them. But to Cory, one of the ways he knows he’s succeeded at serving with love, is when a former team member goes out of their way to send a photo of their newborn, years after they’ve moved on from their job at Caribou.
The power of a listening ear
For Cory, celebrating Veterans Day is all about gratitude. “I view Veterans Day as a day to connect with and celebrate those I’ve served with. It’s a day to appreciate the impact they’ve had on our everyday lives.”
This Veterans Day, Cory has a simple request. “I would encourage everyone to reach out to those who have served, but instead of thanking them, ask them how they are doing. Spend time talking with them and listening to their stories.”
Suicide deaths and substance abuse affect a disproportionate number of veterans. Providing an open ear to someone can make all the difference.
Cory encourages those who know a veteran or service member who might be struggling to embrace resources like the Veterans Crisis Line—which can be accessed by dialing 988 then pressing 1.
Partnering with the American Red Cross
Cory knows firsthand how critical support can be, and that’s why he is proud of Caribou Coffee’s partnership with the American Red Cross. “The Red Cross is a crucial organization for service members who are deployed. An unfortunate reality of being deployed is that life continues on without you at home, and sometimes things happen—a family member getting sick, needing surgery, or even passing away.”
The American Red Cross bridges the gap.
“They act as a liaison between the service member’s family and their Command Team to coordinate logistics to get them home in times of need,” explains Cory.
During Cory’s second tour, the American Red Cross aided him in an emergency return to the United States. “My father-in-law had brain surgery and unfortunately was not going to pull through. Thanks to a great Command Team, I was able to get on a plane within hours. Their quick action and dedication to taking care of a solider allowed me the opportunity to say goodbye and be there to support my wife and her family.”
At Caribou, we want to make a difference in the lives of those who make sacrifices for our country—our veterans and their families. We’re proud to partner with the American Red Cross to ensure those who serve our country have our unwavering support. On Friday, Nov. 11, Caribou will donate $0.25 for every purchase made at participating Caribou Coffee coffeehouses or through the Caribou Coffee app to support active-duty service members, veterans, and military families.
“Caribou providing support to the American Red Cross means that service members never have to worry about how they are going to get home.”
To learn more about our partnership with the American Red Cross, visit their website.