When a nephew of mine, an Army Special Forces guy, shipped out recently for his fourth tour in Iraq/Afghanistan, I asked if we could send him anything, imagining Hershey bars like in the old WWII care packages. He laughed and said, “The infrastructure over there is insane. We’ve got everything we need.”
One thing they don’t have, though, is many hand-rolled cigars. So, since 2009, Dallas’ Johnny Mikes–an Army vet who owns the City Cigars store in Richardson–has been shipping boxes of good stogies to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (pictured) on a regular basis. He does it through a program he set up called Hero Cigar, whereby folks all over the U.S. can buy a box ($89, including shipping), then communicate by e-mail with the units that get them.
“I read a report that less than 1 percent of Americans actually know anyone serving,” Mikes says, so “this is a good way to connect” personally with the troops.
The smokes he ships–20 to a box, hand-rolled by a native Cuban–are much appreciated.
Wrote Army Lt. Col. Reginald Neal to Mikes from Kabul, Afghanistan:
“The fine Luis Falto cigars you donated were a pleasant surprise, and a great morale booster! … We have a wooden shack, called the Tiki Hut, where we smoke cigars a couple of nights a week. …
“It means so much to me and the soldiers of [the Hickory Battalion] when the good folks back home take the time to think of us while we are deployed.”
Good job, Mikes.