FORTVILLE — A small business owner in Hancock County is working for good at his cigar shop in Fortville, supporting troops thousands of miles away.
Maduro on Main is coming up on its third year in business. Owner Larry Harnish sells hundreds of cigars each month, providing peace and relaxation to his customers. His customers, in return, help provide that same feeling to our American Heroes.
“My total this year will be 518 cigars,” said Harnish.
Throughout the year, he and his customers fill this box with cigars that will eventually be sent worldwide to our troops.
“I’ve got a father-in-law who was a World War 2 Veteran, my father served, I’ve got a brother-in-law who served, so I thought, OK, this is a neat thing to do,” said Harnish.
He does this through the national program Cigars for Warriors. Since their inception in 2012, they’ve sent more than a million cigars to American Warriors in combat zones and high-risk areas overseas.
“There's so many weird things really on his in his combat zones so much high-stress op temples high sometimes bordering that causing a lot of drugs,” said Storm Boen, CEO and co-creator of the organization.
He said he knows their charity is often viewed in a skewed light because it supports Tabaco use, but as a combat veteran himself, he knows from experience the peacefulness it brings.
“At the end of the day, we do have two MD's and four psychologists with their names behind us. The psychologist said the mental health benefits outweigh any potential health risk,” said Boen.
Harnish told me the more than 500 cigars he’s collected this year are all thanks to his customers.
“I get some people who donate a bunch bundle 10-20, but for the most part it's the man or woman come in who knows somebody's deploying, and they’ll buy 4 cigars heading into the weekend, and they'll throw one of them in the box,” said Harnish.
He said he got into the cigar business because of the camaraderie that comes with it, and he’s glad he can help our American Heroes experience the same thing.
“I love the camaraderie that comes along with it and so if you can share that peaceful feeling it doesn't matter your race or religion, or political views or wealth status cigars are a common denominator, and all that stuff goes out the window, and you just share the concept the cigar so I thought you know on that end if you can bring that little relaxation and that peace to somebody out there that’s serving and why not. It’s easy to do,” said Harnish.
Cigars for Warriors only run on volunteers, so every cigar and every penny donated goes straight to our heroes. To learn more about Cigars for Warriors, click here.