Brent Tucker, the owner of First Responder’s Coffee Company, dedicated much of his adult life to serving his country.
“When 9/11 hit, I joined the military,” Tucker said. “I had no intention to join the military, but 9/11 hit, I was in the military on 9/27/01 — as fast as they’d let me in,” he said.
This led to more than 20 years in the military, which included stints in the Green Berets and Delta Force.
“When I retired from the military, I had to figure out what it is I wanted to do when I grew up,” Tucker said.
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The veteran started putting his combat experience to good use, helping to train SWAT Teams and police departments.
“It was a lot to see — coming from my world where I had all the resources that I want. Everybody, generally speaking, supported my service and you get put in this situation where you see (first responders), that their communities rely on them, need them and they don’t have nearly enough resources that they need,” Tucker said.
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The veteran had always planned to start his own business, but he also saw it as an opportunity to support the first responders he saw struggling to do their jobs.
“So I had the idea, ‘Hey, let’s create something that puts the force of this business behind and for first responders’ and that’s the birth of First Responders Coffee Company,” he said.
Tucker landed on coffee because he wanted a business that not only benefited first responders but also produced something they would use.
“There really wasn’t a coffee company aimed just at first responders,” he said.
The company is a for-profit business, but some of the proceeds raised from coffee sales go back to support firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics.
“We’re super proud of what we’ve done to date,” Tucker said. “We opened in November of last year and we’ve already donated over $20,000 to first-responder causes.”
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The company’s most recent donation was to an EMT who was injured on the job.
“She was caring for this victim, who was a criminal — wakes up stabs her three times in the back of the ambulance and now she’s in a fight for her life. So we sent her a bunch of coffee, a bunch of T-shirts, sent her a check said, ‘Hey, this is this is for you,’” Tucker said.
In addition to donating some money from coffee sales, Tucker is also working directly with members of the first responder community.
“We’ve taken law enforcement guys out shooting just to have a relaxing day and talk about mental health,” he said.
Tucker also recently opened up the experience to firefighters as well.
“We just had a really good time out there and then at the end of the day, we finished it with a talk about mental health,” he said. And, again, with everything that I’ve been through — what I did wrong, you know what I did, right — letting them get to hear again from someone who’s been there.”
In the latest episode of Florida Foodie, Tucker talks more about how his coffee is helping first responders. He also shares how Central Florida first responders are represented in the packaging of his coffee and how his business is expanding into selling cigars.
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Florida Foodie is a podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere. Find new episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.