Ed Bejarana hosted Patriot Pours with the owner of Lyfe Public House on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Patriot Pour: a New Group for Veterans and First Responders

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COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO – There is a new group designed to bring veterans and first responders together for conversation in a friendly environment to network and bond. Patriot Pours was started by US Army veteran Ed Bejarana and local business owner Dave Miller just eight weeks ago, and already enjoys a regular crowd of local veterans and first responders.

The group meets for two hours every Wednesday at Lyfe Public House starting at 8:00 a.m., the coffee is free and the format is very relaxed. There are no membership dues and no required attendance. Attendees swap stories and share local happenings with plenty of jokes and good-natured ribbing. Each meeting is commenced with an invocation and people flow in-and-out depending on their schedules. Bejarana explained that a guest will occasionally be asked to share on a relevant topic, but generally the entire two hours is meant for one-on-one chats between the attendees.

Bejarana has a broader vision to bring veterans, senior citizens, and children together. He believes the high-risk of veteran suicide can be alleviated by providing hope and connecting veterans without over burdening them. “Our veterans are lonely, senior citizens are dying alone, and children can’t read,” Bejarana said. “Why not have veterans read with children and play music or a game with seniors?” Bejarana, who was a military musician stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, says his idea is modeled after Guitars 4 Vets and Veteran’s Club, and he has partnered with Mike Huckabee’s books for children program. “We can cut veteran suicide in half without medical intervention,” stated Bejarana.

At the Patriot Pour gathering on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, gold star mom Theresa Hart highlighted the service-orientated non-profit she founded after her 20-year-old son was killed in Iraq. Nicholas Newby joined the Idaho Army National Guard in 2008 before graduating from Lake City High School. Newby was a gunner as part of the Idaho National Guard’s 145th Brigade Support Battalion and died on July 7, 2011, in Baghdad, Iraq, from injuries sustained when his convoy was attacked by insurgents with an explosively formed penetrator (EFP).

“It [the EFP] was the only thing Nick was afraid of since it can be detonated without having to run over it and is designed to penetrate armor,” Hart shared. “We spoke regularly and I remember his last words to me on February 6th, ‘I love you too, Mommy.’” Hart described how she would receive frequent calls and visits from her son’s friends and service buddies in the year following his death. “Hundreds in our local community were deployed to Iraq, and were suffering when they returned,” stated Hart.

Newby-Ginnings of North Idaho Inc. was born out of the desperate need Hart saw in local veterans following her son’s death. It began in October 2013 out of her garage and quickly flourished into a full-scale operation that required significant square footage. In 2016, the non-profit relocated to their current facility in Post Falls, Idaho. It provides basic necessities like clothing, shoes, medical equipment, and toiletries, as well as essential household items, including furniture, lamps, small appliances, bakeware, utensils, and dishes. Everything is provided to veterans at no cost and there are referral and support services as well.

“We just signed up the 6,000th veteran last week,” stated Hart. “We are a small part of a much bigger community that lets us do what we do.” The non-profit serves veterans, active military, and their families regardless of income and has no requirements to prove they have a need. “All they have to show is a DD214, a VA card, or a military ID,” Hart explained.

Gold star mom Theresa Hart greets US Army veteran Rafael, who is the 6,000th veteran signed up with Newby-ginnings of North Idaho Inc., on February 4, 2024, in Post Falls, Idaho. (Photo courtesy of Newby-ginnings Facebook page)

Newby-ginnings is funded solely by donations and fundraising, and does not receive state or federal grants or any other government monies. The website states, “Newby-ginnings is a place where our clients can come, not only for basic household necessities, but peer support, friendship, a kind word from a valued volunteer as well as resources and referrals to other agencies. We work very closely with the VA, the AL, the VFW, the DAV, the Combat Vet Riders, Kootenai County Veteran Services, Goodwill, Heritage Health, Spokane Vet Center, the Department of Labor and St. Vincent’s.”

According to Bejarana, there are over 30,000 veterans living in the Idaho panhandle and he believes Newby-ginnings is an amazing program. He encourages the community to donate and spread the word.

Also present at the Patriot Pour gathering last Wednesday was US Air Force veteran Tim Greeley, an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God church. Greeley stated the group was designed to establish trust, which is built over time, before he gave the invocation. He is also a retired Seattle police officer who served 31 years before moving to Kootenai County in the summer of 2023 with his wife, who was a nurse in the US Air Force. He said they connected with Newby-ginnings almost immediately, donating furniture that was not being used after the move.

All veterans, current and retired first responders, and active service members are welcome to attend the Patriot Pour gatherings at Lyfe Public House on Lakeside Avenue in Coeur d’Alene from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. every Wednesday, where Bejarana says the coffee is free and the “seeds of hope” are planted.