Speak Their Names

In November of each year, Holler Roast features an organic single-source dark Brazil coffee bean, Darkhorse 25, in honor and often in memory of military veterans.

Because of a supply issue, we will ship the December Coffee of the Month early in November and the November Coffee of the Month in December.

Veterans Day, however, doesn’t wait for coffee beans, so we’ve published this annual article on the service and sacrifice veterans make on behalf of their countrymen and of the veterans’ haven in-the-building, Darkhorse Lodge.

The bean we’ve selected is the brainchild of roaster Nicole Sauce and combat veteran The Tactical Redneck and is also endorsed by another combat veteran, Kurt Dugger. Any time you purchase a pound of Darkhorse 25, we send $5 to assist Darkhorse Lodge.

Please read on…

Darkhorse Lodge

Imagine losing a child, sibling, spouse, parent, relative, friend, fiancé, combat brother or sister – a dear one, whatever the relationship – and also several of their close friends, all within a few weeks. It would smash one’s life. Even if you were one of the survivors returning from a combat deployment alive, you’d find life at home very different from the way it felt before, and extremely hard to get on with.

As Gretchen and Kirk Catherwood dealt with their own grief in the wake of Alec Catherwood’s death, instead of turning inward, they thought about others. Alec served and died in the 3/5 (3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps, the Darkhorse Battalion.) In short order, the Catherwoods gathered family, friends, and veterans into the sweeping dream of creating a place for warriors to find peace, fellowship, rejuvenation, and recovery. They founded Darkhorse Lodge.

The 28-acre retreat honors “our nation’s heroes by providing a peaceful atmosphere for combat veterans to enjoy rest, relaxation and recreation,” as the nonprofit organization’s mission statement reads. When complete, it will have five fully-equipped cabins with five bedrooms each, a staff cabin, shower and dining facility, and gathering areas. There will be trails to walk and all the peaceful and recreational opportunities of Kentucky Lake. Counselors – also veterans – will be available for consultation. A stay at Darkhorse Lodge will cost the combat veteran nothing.

The 3/5

In a mere seven months, the Darkhorse Battalion lost 25 Marines to death. In addition, 200 were wounded and 36 lost limbs. The battalion has become an icon for bravery in combat.

Justin J. Cain…

… really wanted to fight for his country, said his longtime friend, Katelyn Birringer.

“He was a shy, quiet kid whose wardrobe consisted of black jeans and white shirts” before he went to Marine boot camp. He emerged a confident, assertive man who enjoyed dressing well. He wanted to see the world. He died only four years later.

In September 2010, Corporal Justin J. Cain of the Darkhorse Battalion deployed with Combined Anti-Armor Team 1, 1st Section, to Sangin District, Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

He and four others were killed by the same roadside bomb a month later, on October 13, 2010, at 22.

Among Justin’s service awards are the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Statewide, Wisconsin flags flew at half mast in his honor, but, of course, this gesture of respect neither lengthened his life nor comforted his family and friends.

Corporal Justin Cain

Born September 5, 1988
Graduated high school June 2007
Shipped out to boot camp June 19, 2007
Killed in action October 13, 2010

See the poem in his honor contributed by David Luckow, a relative on Justin’s mother’s side.

1st Lieutenant Robert Kelly…

… is remembered for his outstanding humor, his bravery, and his humility.

“He had a sense of duty,” said Matthew Rowland, who met Kelly in college and later married Kelly’s cousin. “He was a big reader and a history buff.”

Kelly followed his father, Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly, and brother, John Kelly, Jr., into the Marines. He served first as an enlisted Marine and was commissioned on December 12, 2008.

Lt. Gen. Kelly is largely credited with maintaining the security environment achieved in Anbar province, Iraq, during his command in 2008 of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). He participated not only in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2006, but also in the Special Marine Air Ground Task Force Katrina Hurricane Relief Operations in New Orleans before deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

At 29 and on his third combat deployment, an IED ended his life.

1st Lieutenant Robert M. Kelly

Born September 5, 1981
Enlisted in the Marines September 2003
Commissioned December 2008
Assigned to the 3/5 September 2009
Deployed September 2010
Killed in action November 9, 2010

His awards include the Purple Heart, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon with one gold star.

Stories of two additional soldiers from the Darkhorse Battalion were published a year ago in the Coffee Tale “That Others May Live Free.”

Holler Roast Coffee urges you to buy all the Darkhorse 25 coffee beans you can drink! At the recommended dark roast level, it’s low in acid, high in rich, toothy flavor, and smells fabulous.

More Information

Wall of Honor

The Boys of 3/5


Justin J. Cain

Military Times, Honor the Fallen

The Highground Veterans Memorial Park


Robert M. Kelly

Military Times, Honor the Fallen

Travis Manion Foundation, Fallen Heroes