What started out… as a little shop named Pat’s Gourmet Coffee Shop, named in honor of his wife, became much more. It became not only a Coffee Shop but a “Living” Military Museum, named in honor of the man who spent the last 14 years of his life honoring and supporting America’s Veterans. It was owned and operated by Richard Warren, a U.S. Army, Vietnam combat pilot who flew a Huey attack helicopter, or “gunship”, with the callsign “Mustang 53”.
With his background Richard made a point of extending the traditional Veterans greeting of “Welcome Home” to every veteran who came in the shop. Over time, Pat’s became a gathering place for veterans of
all ages and a collection of artifacts, awards, magazine and newspaper articles slowly accumulated.
“Our State”, the official North Carolina state magazine labeled it “The Most Patriotic Coffee Shop in America”. Not far from the truth, since it is the only non-profit coffee shop and living military museum in the United States.
Sadly, in May of 2009, Richard died of complications from exposure to Agent Orange. He had spent many years of his life providing assistance and support to veterans. But, just months before he passed
away he started forming a non-profit organization and he wanted it to be named “Welcome Home Veterans”. This non-profit would oversee and keep Richard's dream, to see that what he started grew and
continue to recognize, serve, support, and honor those who gave so much.
After his death there were some issues with the lease, being so old, and Pat’s Coffee Shop closed. We were not sure at this point if it was the need for a good cup of coffee, missing other comrades or the honor and tradition of carrying on for a fallen comrade, but a number of Richard’s regular patrons were determined that his special legacy would not be lost.
Richard’s Coffee Shop, named in Richard Warren’s honor, and with oversight from Welcome Home Veterans, Inc., opened on July 4th, 2009 just down the street from the original site of Pat’s Coffee Shop,
underwritten by the members of the non-profit’s Board and the generous contributions of so many others from around the world. Read Full History.
2019 was a special year for us! We celebrated our 10th Anniversary of Richard's Coffee Shop and our Living Military Museum. In addition, Richard (along with several more of our amazing veteran supporters) was inducted into the NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame in April of 2019 for his efforts in supporting veterans of all conflicts and all branches of the military.