UPHS Heroes: Zac Deforge

Around a year ago, Zac Deforge suffered a stroke. The experience was jarring for the UPHS – Marquette barista who had become a mainstay at the coffee shop after working there for four years. In the follow up to Deforge’s stroke, his co-workers rallied around him by holding a spaghetti dinner and a prize raffle drawing in order to assist in funding his recovery. 

“It’s amazing what my co-workers did,” Zac said. “They just came right around and helped out so much; it was amazing. I can’t thank them enough for what they did. For them to care that much, it’s like they’re doing something outside of what they’re supposed to. Even after the stroke, people come up and say, ‘Hi,’ and mention how I’m back. It’s great. I’m very grateful for what they’ve done for me.”

In this first edition of UPHS Heroes, we met with Zac to learn about his experience working at UPHS and how he became involved.

How did you become involved with UPHS and what drew you to working as a barista?

I got started into this from a friend who referenced the coffee shop and asked me to apply. I was drawn into the fast-pace lifestyle and I never was a barista before, so I wanted to learn how to do that. Everybody that comes down here is super friendly and everything. You make small talk and help people through things.

Are you a big-time coffee drinker yourself?

Yeah, yeah. A lot of espresso shots. 

What does a normal day consist of for you?

Normally it’s making drinks, filling out paperwork, filling customers’ needs and restocking.

What are some of your interests outside of work?

I like to read. That’s about it. I live a pretty boring lifestyle. Sociology and psychology books are my favorites. I’m more intrigued by factual interests. 

What is something people may not know about you?

I have a lot of tattoos. I have a friend who is a tattoo artist in Houghton, and I started emailing scheduling for him and he got me into that. I got three tattoos from that, and I was hooked.

What is your favorite part about working here?

Definitely the people here. They come down and are so nice. It’s always an easy interaction with everybody. It’s not like I have to go into work and it’s hard every single day; it’s easy and smooth. 

You mentioned what your co-workers did for you after you suffered your stroke in 2018, so what does it mean for you to see people that invested in each other?

It feels great. When you come to work, it doesn’t feel like you’re coming to work; it feels like you’re going into a family. It seems like a family instead of co-workers. 

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