The war in Iraq was brought closer to home for owners of a local cigar shop when a military customer deployed there.
Chief Warrant Officer Rob Way and the owners of Cigars and Such in Ozark met while Way was stationed at Fort Rucker from April 2008 until March of this year. He lived in Ozark while he served as the Commander of the 1st Warrant Officer Company at the Warrant Officer Career College at Fort Rucker.
When Way deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the shop owners, John and Marti Varney, stayed in touch by e-mail with their cigar-smoking friend.
“We wanted to let him know that we were thinking about him and all the military,” Varney said. “With the 4th of July approaching, all of our military were especially on our minds.”
“Shortly after getting settled in Ozark, I ventured out to find a local cigar shop,” Way said via email to The Enterprise Ledger from Iraq Friday. “ I stumbled across Cigars and Such and met the John and Marti.”
Way said he ended up staying at the shop for several hours just talking and cigar smoking. “Once John moved his shop to downtown Ozark, I started coming every Saturday morning,” Way said. “I brought several co-workers with me and it became a weekly get-together.”
“The area in Baghdad I am stationed at actually has a few cigar clubs,” Way said. A couple of the clubs meet weekly, he said. “The largest club meets every two weeks at different locations; each time they meet they provide food and live music.” The Varneys decided to find a way to show their support for the military by doing what they know best. “We decided to ship cigars to military personnel stationed overseas Rob Varney said. “That’s how the idea for ‘Cigars for Soldiers’ was born.”
The staff at Cigars and Such is planning an event at their shop on the square in Ozark on July 1 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. A representative from Perdomo Cigars will be on site that evening and has made a generous donation to “Cigars for Soldiers,” Varney said. The plan is to fill a waterproof, airtight case that was donated by the Fort Rucker Dive Club and ship it to Way by July 2.
Varney said he was overwhelmed by the support for the project. “We have people that don’t even smoke coming in to buy boxes to send,” he said.
Way loved the idea when the Varneys contacted him: “Wow, how awesome is that,” he said via email. “Yes, the cigars will find a home here.” Way said he will coordinate with the already established Cigar Club in his area and coordinate a Cigars and Such Perdomo Salute to the Troops.
“I would say that the core reason ‘we’ smoke cigars is that it provides relaxation; a time to reflect and do deep thinking, and just enjoy the moments of life,” Way said. “Smoking a premium cigar is enjoying the finer things in life.”
From eprisenow.com, June 24th, 2010, By MICHELLE MANN