Monday, November 30, 2009

Community raliies at Forza Coffee in Lakewood,wa

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- The harsh reality is sinking in for the owner and baristas of of Forza Coffee Company

Two employees were just feet away from the spot where four Lakewood police officers were murdered in an ambush-style attack Sunday morning.

On Monday, store signs conveyed sadness. Half-staff flags and flowers showed a community in mourning.

"We just want everybody to know we're feeling their pain," said local resident Michelle Bressler.

After four officers were gunned down, Forza, a coffee shop where you'd typically tap into the pulse of the community, began collecting donations for the dead officers' families.

"Mark, Ron, Greg and Tina all placing their lives in harm's way to save our staff and customers -- how do you say thank you?" said owner Brad Carpenter.

The Carpenters brought their staff together Monday morning to meet with a grief counselor. Even the two baristas who witnessed the shooting attended.

"I was impressed that they came and got out of bed this morning and came in, wanting to talk," said Cindy Carpenter.

Carpenter says the women were shaken by what they saw.

"Enough to leave imprint on their lives for awhile," said Brad Carpenter.

"Forza" translates into "strength," and the owners can't believe the strength their baristas are showing after the shooting.

"They're not going to allow this animal who did this to interrupt their lives and do this inside their store. They want to come back and reclaim it," said Brad Carpenter, who served as a Gig Harbor police officer himself.

So many people want to help baristas and the family members of the fallen officers. People from around the country are reaching out and offering their services. And coffee competitors are helping take donations for the families.

Forza will collect donations for the families through the end of the year.

"It's amazing to see what the community does to come together," said one staff member.

But the owners say there's no way to repay the debt we owe these fallen officers.


You can make a donation to the families of the fallen officers online

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