By Bonnie Rochman/Starbucks Newsroom
Monique Brown spent 26 years in the military, half of them active duty, and more than two years in Iraq, cooking for the troops. When she transitioned to civilian life in 2013, says Brown, “it was rough.”
She suffered a breakdown. “I started crying one day and couldn’t stop,” said Brown, who is 50 and lives in Renton, Wash. “Your world stops because you have no mission. You are trying to figure out what comes next.”
Brown was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, major depressive order and anxiety, which gave her names to validate what she was feeling. She knew that part of her recovery hinged on helping others, so she found a job doing veterans outreach, connecting homeless vets she found beneath the freeway or in squalid tent cities with services. Slowly she emerged from the fog. Then one day last year, she united with Victor Melendez, who designs coffee packaging for #starbucks, to turn her painstaking process of healing into art.
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