In the Trenches: Working Inside Cigars for Warriors

Paul Hinman | Cigars for Warriors

Over the last 30 years, off and on, I have written material for many media outlets. These have included military public articles, curriculums, and policies. I have even done some writing on behalf of the government on many subjects.

Outside of telling the public a lot about the tremendous humanitarian projects the military was doing, I have enjoyed writing for various magazines involved in the cigar industry. Writing an Operation: Cigars for Warriors (CFW) editorial for Tobacco Business on how to support our troops has been a favorite. Writing about how retailers can make money by following the CFW Donation Center Program has been fun. We at CFW believe in a win-win-win philosophy, and writing for Tobacco Business is just that: everyone involved wins.

Cigars for WarriorsWith all that said, my favorite subject for the last ten years is the highlighting of individuals. That includes those from our troops who have received Warrior Care Packages from us, our donation centers and manufacturers who have shined, regular donors just waiting to support the cause, and our volunteers. In this article, instead of using the traditional interview format you have read in the past, I asked Paul Hinman to talk about his volunteer experience within CFW. He is a CFW Board member wearing many hats within our organization and has some essential roles.

Paul is the CFW executive assistant administrator who manages all the volunteers and donation centers. He calls or assigns calls to each volunteer and certified CFW Donation Center.

Making these calls, being part of every new volunteer and donation center in-processing, is easily one of the top 3 most important jobs within the charity. It gives volunteers and donation centers that lifeline that is very important when dealing with a charity that started as grassroots style and has grown to what it is now while keeping those same humble and passionate characteristics of a grassroots charity program.

I asked Paul if he could write about the experience that he has had so far with the charity. Paul is very humble, but I will share with you that he has a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and tremendous passion for the troops. It has been great having another retired volunteer like myself, especially one as passionate as Paul.

Many within CFW have given so much of themselves while remaining in the background where not everyone can see. With so many amazing, humble volunteers, CFW is very blessed. You cannot ask more than that from volunteers for any charity program.

Here is what Paul Hinman, executive administrative assistant at CFW, shared about his experiences with our organization:

“I am Paul Hinman, and I live outside the DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) area. I have been a cigar smoker since my early 20s. I am retired now, so you can do the math. While on a trip to see my Dad in Michigan, we went to Canada where I scored my first Cuban cigar. I was hooked! I can’t remember all the flavor notes, but it was good! Things progressed through the years. I had a friend that had a Thursday night meeting of the minds. We smoked, drank, and solved the world’s problems. As I progressed through the years, I found if I liked a cigar, I would continue to smoke it. I didn’t concern myself with brands or what others thought of the cigar I was smoking. I smoked what I liked, regardless of if it was inexpensive or pricey.

“My second Cuban came from the Bahamas and was a gift from my brother. I smoked it in New Zealand while looking up at the Southern Cross. It was a magical moment.

“Fast forward a few years and many cigars later, I discovered a social media group devoted to cigars. CATS, these gentlemen, and ladies were committed to the love of the leaf. It was very fresh because they were genuinely inclusive. They love teaching newcomers, and their main rule is to show respect.

“After following the group for a while, I attended my first CATS fest in San Antonio. It was a fantastic group of people from all walks of life. I met people there that will be my friends for life.

“Having been in sales, I have an affinity for the gift of gab. I connected with my new friend Steve. We drank, we smoked, and we shared stories. Get the drift yet? It was an amazing two days benefiting a fantastic charity–Cigars For Warriors–and it was the beginning of my journey with them.