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Starbucks Employees Rally to Help Tyler Southern and Ashley Statti

7:49 AM, Jul 10, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sara Hedges, manager at the Starbucks on Blanding, said when she heard about Tyler Southern, she wanted to "jump" into action.

She was especially touched because she has a son about Tyler's age.

Tyler, a marine from Jacksonville, is now a triple amputee who  was almost killed by an IED in Afghanistan.

PICTURES: Tyler and Ashley

Hedges said she bounced into work the next day and rallied her employees to plan a special party in-house for Tyler and sign up to help build his new home.

First Coast News is rallying the community to help throw Tyler a wedding and build him a new home especially designed for disabled veterans.

PICTURES: Tyler and Ashley Wedding Shower 

Hedges found enthusiastic support and was thrilled when Tyler and his fiancee, Ashley Statti, showed up at their store.

At the party, employees taught Tyler how to make the perfect cup of coffee. 

Then the funny part happened. Tyler politely taste-tested a particular flavor, Kenya, and with everyone waiting for his reaction - well, not so much.

PICTURES: Tyler Southern's Groom's Cake?

So the focus will shift from Kenya to white chocolate, Ashley's favorite.

It's a good thing Tyler tried out the flavors though, because Starbucks is giving the couple a free supply of coffee each month. The company also will outfit the couple's new home with a surprise along the lines of equipment and art.

Construction crews plan to pour a slab for the couple's new home in St. Johns County sometime this month, if all goes well.

Tyler called the support "awesome." Ashley calls it "amazing."

MORE: Do you want to help Operation Thumbs Up? 

First Coast News

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