KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Since Kalamazoo Police Officer Christian Smith died of leukemia earlier this month, his life’s story of 32 years is being told throughout West Michigan and even beyond the state.

The news eventually made its way out to near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Kayla Mehlert works part-time at a local sheriff’s office and her husband, Morgan Mehlert, a former Marine, serves full-time at the Hiawatha Police Department.

“The more we learn, just this incredible person … he has served, a great dad, a K-9 officer, a veteran. … It just breaks your heart,” Kayla Mehlert said. “It’s the loss of somebody that is so substantial in their community and something that is so heartbreaking.”

Together, the Mehlerts also run a coffee company, Risen Warrior, which became more than a passion project.

“People build relationships over coffee, right? It’s, ‘Hey, let’s meet up for coffee’ or sit in the office and you chat over a cup of coffee,” Kayla Mehlert said. “Our whole mission statement is that we believe a cup of coffee can really change a life.”

It also states they “believe we are called to do life together,” which they’ve shown through their Tribute Blends, brewed coffee named after fallen law enforcement officers, whose families receive the proceeds from sales.

In the past, the honorees locally included Michigan State Trooper Caleb Starr and Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Proxmire. It was the Mehlerts’ previous contact with Starr who informed them about Christian Smith in mid-October.

“Whether it’s line-of-duty death or something like this, it all matters. It all impacts the blue line community,” Kayla Mehlert said. “We saw they were doing a fundraiser and thought ‘Heck, if we can help with this, if we can give another way for people to give, let’s do it.'”

Risen Warrior’s Tribute Blend for Smith is a medium roast brewed with Central and South American beans, giving chocolate undertones and slight finish of hazelnut and caramel. Kayla Mehlert says choosing this was not random.

“I’ve never met anybody that does not love this coffee, which is why we chose it. He seemed like a super loveable guy, so we wanted to choose a super loveable coffee to kind of go together with him,” she said.

Shipping of this particular Tribute Blend won’t begin until Oct. 24. But since its online listing earlier this week, demand soared to the point that shipping will take at least two weeks, as of Wednesday. Mehlert urges customers to be patient since it’ll be produced through Veterans Day while supplies last.

Customers interested in buying the coffee can purchase it at risenwarriorcoffee.com. For those not into coffee but still want to help the Smith family, monetary donations can be made at Lake Michigan Credit Union to an account under Samantha Smith’s name.