Patricia Revollo was a young woman living in Las Vegas the first time she felt compelled to show her appreciation for the service of American troops. It was 1991 and Revollo was glued to her television watching coverage of the Gulf War.
“During that time I felt like I had to do something to show support and how much I cared for those who were deployed,” the 16-year Starbucks partner (employee) recalled. “I heard about an organization on the news that was looking for people to adopt a Marine, so I jumped at the opportunity. Throughout the year I sent care packages to him and we exchanged letters. It was amazing to be able to do something for someone who was giving so much – a small way to say thank you.”
Looking back over time, Revollo, a Costa Rica native who became a U.S. citizen in 1988, said she discovered that giving her time to organizations that support the military has had an energizing and rewarding impact on her life and career. Now an honorary commander with the U.S. Air Force, Revollo is among the many partners we're profiling as part of Starbucks commitment to hire and honor veterans and military spouses.
A Gift for Creating Connections
Bertha Gonzaba noticed Revollo’s way of connecting with communities very early in their work relationship. Gonzaba was Starbucks district manager for San Antonio and more remote parts of Texas when Revollo joined the company as a store manager in 2000. At the time, Starbucks was making inroads beyond the Lone Star State’s major population centers with a number of new stores opening west of Texas’ major cities. Gonzaba called on Revollo repeatedly to help get Starbucks stores in far-flung locations up and running. She opened stores in Abilene, Amarillo and Midland, eventually settling in for a time in El Paso, a 550-mile drive from San Antonio.
“When you were in those remote locations, in many cases you were opening the first Starbucks in that market,” Gonzaba recalled. “In every market she served in and every opportunity she had, what stood out was Patricia’s desire to give back to the community in every form that she could.” Gonzaba was promoted to regional director in 2002 and two years later, Revollo became the district manager for western Texas, based in Lubbock. From this point forward an enduring bond took shape between Revollo and the region’s substantial Armed Forces population.
Revollo, who marked her 12-year anniversary as a Starbucks district manager recently, is now deeply immersed in the city’s military culture. Early on, she became a supporter of the Center for the Intrepid, a rehabilitation center at Fort Sam Houston that treats amputees and burn victims, as well as the Fisher House Foundation, which provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving care at military and Veterans Administration medical centers.
A Genuine Commitment
In 2013 she became part of a Starbucks team that partnered with the Texas Veterans Commission at job fairs to recruit veterans to join the company and developed a chapter of the Starbucks Armed Forces Network that reached beyond the Texas border into Oklahoma. Revollo also became a member of the USO’s Advisory Board, volunteers with the Employer Support for the Guard & Reserve and works with veterans’ organizations like Hiring Our Heroes and The Mission Continues.
Of late, she’s added to her list of priorities Starbucks Adopt a Military Unit, a program that bridges the civilian/military divide by sponsoring a military unit. Last year her district sent care packages to the U.S. Air Force 59th Medical Wing in Afghanistan.
And whenever the U.S. Army 32nd Medical Brigade (pictured above) conducts a ride as part of its motorcycle mentorship program, Revollo sees to it that Starbucks coffee and pastries are available. Heading into fall, there are plans for assembling holiday packages and writing personalized greeting cards.
“For Patricia, when it comes to community and veteran and military family support, she’s a very genuine person,” Gonzaba observed. “This isn’t a flavor-of-the-month deal. She has decided that this is something that she wants to be a part of and something that she wants to grow."
All this activity hasn’t gone unrecognized. In February, Revollo was sworn in as honorary commander of the U.S. Air Force 433rd Airlift Wing. Honorary commanders are community and business leaders who are paired with military commanders for a year to learn more about military activities and their impact locally and beyond. Revollo interacts with the 433rd regularly, attending meetings, speaking to the airmen and delivering Starbucks beverages and food.
“I tell them that I feel they’ve adopted me as much as I’ve adopted them,” Revollo said. “Being an honorary commander has given me a different perspective and greater understanding of Starbucks partners and their military careers.”