She's been shot at, been in countless mortar and rocket attacks and traveled all over Iraq on Black Hawk helicopters. Not a typical day...

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She’s been shot at, been in countless mortar and rocket attacks and traveled all over Iraq on Black Hawk helicopters.

Not a typical day at the office for Bellevue Square’s spokeswoman. But over the past 19 months, it’s become part of Anne Marie Peacock’s job as the public-affairs officer for the 81st Brigade Combat Team in Iraq. Peacock has been coordinating communications for her National Guard team, from producing the brigade’s newsletter to handling media inquiries since she was deployed nearly two years ago.

Peacock and her staff members have covered the elections in Baghdad, patrolled on combat missions all over Iraq, and been in several close calls. After a long, grueling trip, Peacock and a Los Angeles Times reporter were exhausted, dirty and hungry and were finally taking a break. It didn’t last long — a mortar landed on the building they were in, killing three soldiers and wounding 20.

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“More than once I would question my sanity as I fought for the opportunity to go out on combat patrols to get the story,” Peacock said in a recent e-mail from Iraq. “But it was well worth it.”

Peacock is to return to the states this month but will take a much-needed vacation before she goes back to work. While other soldiers are planning trips to Mexico and Europe, Peacock said she’s planning to enjoy home.

“I miss the simple things,” she said. “I look forward to sleeping in a full-sized bed on a real mattress, indoor plumbing, eating with silverware and plates. I look forward to driving a car and going to my fridge for some good food whenever I please.

“I can practically smell the Starbucks!”

More information about the 81st Brigade Combat Team is online at 81brigade.washingtonarmyguard.com.

A cafe with a purpose

Two years ago, three Redmond programs for at-risk kids were eliminated because of funding cuts.

But instead of looking for donations, Redmond’s business owners, city officials, religious and education leaders decided to set up a business to help make money for youth programs. Called Redmond Social Enterprise, it’s getting ready to open Red’s Express, a take-out espresso shop and cafe at the Overlake Transit Center.

The group needs a board member who has a small retail or food business in Redmond to help it develop the cafe, decide how to spend the profit and eventually to help open other companies.

For more information, contact Lauren Kirby at 425-643-4957 or lkirby@redmond.gov.

Free business consulting

The Bellevue Entrepreneur Center is looking for Eastside companies to participate in its free business-consulting projects.

The nonprofit group — a partnership of private companies, colleges and local governments — pairs a team of students, professor and business adviser with a company to help it increase its sales and profit.

Businesses must be willing to commit to a three-month project, share operational and financial information, and reimburse the group for any materials costs. The team members sign confidentiality agreements. The groups will begin working with 10 new companies late this month or early next month.

Founded three years ago to help small Eastside companies, the group has worked with 35 local businesses.

More information can be found online at www.beconline.org, or by calling the BEC at 425-564-2888.

Opening

Mercer Island has a new French cafe and bakery, the French Market, serving homemade cinnamon rolls, sandwiches and salads.

The French Market, which also does catering, is open for breakfast and lunch Mondays through Fridays. By this summer, the owners plan to start serving breakfast on the weekends.

The French Market is at 7525 S.E. 24th St. in the Island Corporate Center.

Eastside Business Notes appears every Wednesday in the Eastside edition of the Seattle Times. Kristina Shevory: 206-464-2039 or kshevory@seattletimes.com