Military contractors give back to military, community

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Diana M. Cossaboom
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
For some people a hot cup of coffee is the perfect start to the day. For three military contractors, it is a way to provide a sanctuary for military personnel and an opportunity to give back to their local community.

Jasper Brogdon, U.S. Army chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosives instructor, Patricia Brogdon, U.S. Army lead logistics clerk, and Frederick Sullivan, U.S. Army logistics clerk, are all currently supporting the military mission down-range, but they are tied by more than their shared deployed experience. Back home in Sumter, the Brogdon's and Sullivan own equal portions of Dark Cup O' Joe, a coffee shop created by Jasper Brogdon while deployed to Afghanistan in 2008.

"We started out with just plywood and 2x4's that were donated and scavenged from around the base," said Jasper. "It was pretty much just a little wooden shack with two coffee cylinders. We used drop lights so we could see and it eventually evolved to include wifi and a few donated laptops."

The Morale Wellness and Recreations office took over the two coffee shops Jasper started in Afghanistan after his departure.

"It was a place for the soldiers to come and relax after missions," said Jasper, "A place to enjoy the camaraderie."

Upon his return to the states, the Brogdon's and Sullivan opened up another Dark Cup O' Joe located in Sumter, South Carolina, close to Shaw Air Force Base.

"Patricia and I live in Sumter and this is where we plan to retire once we leave from overseas," said Jasper.

Jasper and Sullivan both served in the military before they became contractors and opened their coffee shop. It was while serving in the military that Jasper had the idea to create the shop.

In their store, proudly displayed near the window, is a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action table.

"We've had people come in just to look at the table," said Rebekka Taylor, Dark Cup O' Joe manager.
The owners' deep ties to the military influenced their decision to put a POW/MIA table in the store.

"I wanted to share this part of the military with civilians," said Jasper. "Many people have never been on a Military installation and have no idea of the traditions that we hold near and dear. I also wanted the family members and loved ones of POW/MIAs to see that their loved ones are not forgotten."

The table was set up by Taylor who sensed it was something the community needed.

"I felt it was important for us to recognize the sacrifices of our POW/MIA," said Taylor.

Beyond their dedication to the military, the Brogdon's and Sullivan provide educational opportunities for their employees. They offer them the time and means to take online classes and prepare for better employment opportunities.

"It is our wish for each of them to go onto bigger and better things after the Dark Cup O' Joe," said Jasper. "Hopefully they will own their own company someday."

The employees are encouraged to use their down-time while working at the shop to take classes online using computers and wifi provided by the owners.

Compassion is not uncommon around the coffee shop, the Dark Cup O' Joe employees, to the shock of the owners, collectively decided to donate any tips they receive to the community. Each month they pick a local charity and donate their tips.

"We could not have asked for anything better," said Jasper. "We were all in awe of what they wanted to do."

This local family-owned business' dedicated staff with military roots strives to expand and reach out to more military and community members throughout the country, sharing military tradition through coffee.

For more information on Dark Cup O' Joe visit their facebook page at