Free Coffee, Croissants for Cadets,
Courtesy of Carol and Her Pal Bill
by Paula Selleck
May 27, 2003
|TSU Starbucks supervisor
Carol Wise greets ROTC cadets, from left, Leonard Cruz,
Jason Canty, Ryan Kam and Christian Gregoire – all
students in the university’s Military Science Program
and recipients of her good cheer.
When ROTC cadets in full dress uniform
escorted honorees to the stage at last month’s Vision &
Visionaries event at the Grand Californian, most attendees looked
on with admiration.
At least one admirer in the ballroom knew the
Carol Wise recognized Rupali Tilve and Christy
Stewart as they strode past her table. She knows them as patrons
of Starbucks in the Titan Student Union, where she supervises the
crew and greets customers by name.
“These kids represent us, and here on
campus they do it so well,” she said.
That night at V&V, she talked with her companion about how she
wished she could offer the students in uniform a free cup of coffee,
as a gesture of appreciation.
“I’d sponsor that,” her escort
offered. “I’d contribute $500.”
A few weeks later, University Advisory Board
member William J. McGarvey had written a check for $1,000 –
which is underwriting more than a cup of coffee for the 80 cadets
in the university’s Military Science Program.
Each received a special Titan Card, which can
be used during the month of May for $12 worth of goodies at any
Titan eatery, including cappuccino and croissants at Starbucks,
thanks to Wise and McGarvey.
“This was Carol’s doing,”
said the longtime university supporter and retired Realtor, known
around town for his many civic efforts and trademark red socks.
“She’s so proud of the students,” he said, noting
that the cadets distinguish themselves by their “carriage,
discipline and courtesy.”
No stranger to that world, McGarvey left his
job at Lockheed during World War II to enlist in the Navy and served
for two years aboard an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. He
shares Wise’s appreciation of the students’ willingness
to serve their country.
“Let’s get this going,” he
said, handing her the check.
Wise made the arrangements with Titan Card staffer
Loan Nguyen, who cut in half the usual $1-per-card fee charged to
produce the plastic currency. Wise couldn’t wait to give the
cards to the commander of the university’s ROTC, Lt. Col.
Chris Taddeo, who invited her to be an observer at a recent training
session on combat water survival.
“She’s wonderful; she’s like
your mother,” said Taddeo, who rounded up a group of cadets
to pay her a thank-you visit at Starbucks.
A mother of two grown sons, Wise dotes on her
four grandchildren, ages 6 to 16. The eldest, she’s proud
to tell you, is ranked in the top 5 percent of her high school class
and received a $1,000 scholarship. She beams when she talks about
how her granddaughter has been tracked since seventh grade by university
“I love education so much.” So much
that she implores her grandchildren not to follow her example. Wise
was 17 when her first child was born; years later she went back
to school to earn a high-school equivalency certificate.
Working on a university campus surrounded by
students energizes her. She likes to get out from behind the counter
and walk between the tables, talking to customers and giving advice
“whether they ask for it or not,” she says grinning.
“I just feel so good about these kids,”
she adds, looking over at a group chatting on a Friday afternoon.
“Without exception, I have a lot of fun with them.”
Just outside the Titan Student Union, passersby
can see the flag decal Wise posted in the Starbucks window when
the nation’s troops were deployed to Iraq.
As for the free coffee and other treats the
ROTC cadets are enjoying this month: “I wanted them to know
that someone appreciated what they do,” she said, folding
up her apron at shift’s end.
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