Miller caps can help veterans

Miller caps can help veterans

September 6th, 2010 by Jessie Gable in News

Jon Larson fixes things.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on his third day as a U.S. paratrooper in 2005, he begged his commanding officers to let him go help. He's been in Africa, trying to stop the violence that plagues various parts of the continent.

Now he's working on a problem closer to home.

As part of the Miller High Life "Give a veteran a piece of the High Life" campaign, Larson, 34, has been collecting beer bottle caps for the past month.

Miller High Life has agreed to donate 10 cents for every specially designated cap or tab, up to $1 million. The money will help soldiers who are stranded when they return on leave and cannot afford to do fun things with their families, according to the Miller Coors website.

Larson knows this situation far too well. During his time as a paratrooper, he returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., only to be served with divorce papers. He didn't even have enough money to make the eight-hour trip back to Chattanooga to see his daughter, Mathilda, now 6.

"Knowing these guys are coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq and not having enough money to see their family," Larson said, "that was my big motivation."

Larson first saw a story about the Miller cap campaign on CNN. He went directly to Family Dollar, bought all the plastic containers they had and made jars to collect tabs.

"The cashiers just kept saying, 'You must be really hungry,'" Larson said.

HOW TO HELP

Mail tabs and caps directly to Miller High Life Veterans Program, 3903 Portage Road, Suite C No. 140, South Bend, IN 46628-6192, or drop them off at one of the participating bars in Chattanooga: Pickle Barrel, Northshore Grille, Midtown Music Hall, J.J.'s Bohemia, T Bone's and Discoteca.

He placed containers, each with a masking tape-and-Sharpie label, at local bars that served the beer and were willing to help.

Zack Lewis, who works at Pickle Barrel on Market Street, one of the participating bars, said the project has received good feedback from patrons.

"Everybody's glad we're doing it," Lewis said.

One thing Larson was certain about was his desire to stay anonymous to the company when the caps were turned in. He was hesitant to talk to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, but said he hoped people would drink more Miller High Life if they knew about the project.

"I don't want personal credit, just to make a donation from the city of Chattanooga," he said.

Larson said he has already collected a lot more caps than he could have by himself. He has until Sept. 30 to turn the caps in to Miller High Life.