MOORESVILLE - Welcome Home Veterans Living Military Museum at Richard’s Coffee Shop will celebrate the long-awaited grand opening of its new, permanent home on North Main Street this Thursday to Saturday, May 17-19, during Armed Forces Day Weekend and Mooresville’s Race City Festival. The weekend kicks off with a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony Thursday morning.
The move to the new location comes after a two-year search for space, and a grassroots fundraising effort that recently culminated in a generous lease-to-purchase agreement with Aquesta Bank.
“Offering veterans a place of support, healing and camaraderie will always be our primary mission and we will continue to find ways to better serve our community and our veterans,” said John Hedley, U.S. Army Lt. Col.(Ret.) and prresident, Board of Directors, Welcome Home Veterans.
Renovations currently underway include the addition of a cafe, upfitted by Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits, where veterans and visitors alike can enjoy a cup of coffee, pastries and sandwiches, and a gift shop featuring collectible coffee mugs, patriotic pins, and military mementos including Welcome Home Veterans Challenge Coins.
A conference room and state-of-the art media center will allow the museum to coordinate with other civic organizations and sponsor more school trips to provide valuable history lessons to area youths.
AUTHOR GALLOWAY TO VISIT
Of special significance to veterans is the weekend’s guest of honor, Joseph L. Galloway who will arrive by motorcycle escort, accompanied by his fiancée Gracie Lim, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 17, in advance of the ribbon cutting which is scheduled for 11 a.m. that day.
Mr. Galloway is an award-winning journalist and decorated combat correspondent who was the only civilian to be awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor by the Army during the Vietnam conflict for repeatedly disregarding his own safety to rescue wounded soldiers under fire. Ms. Lim spent 3 years in Vietnam working primarily with orphans and rape victims and now works at Community Free Clinic in Concord that provides healthcare services for Veterans in need.
Mr. Galloway will be signing copies of “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” and “We Are Soldiers Still – A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam” from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm each day during the grand opening weekend.
Raffle tickets will also be on sale for items including a leather bound heirloom edition of “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” signed by Mr. Galloway and co-author Lt. General Harold G. Moore, a semi-annual membership and training class donated by Point Blank Range and more. Mac’s Speed Shop and The Coca-Cola Co. will provide food and beverages for the event. Proceeds will benefit Welcome Home Veterans expansion efforts.
Welcome Home Veterans Living Military Museum at Richard’s Coffee Shop is a tax-exempt 501c3 non-profit organization. The group says it is “dedicated to ensure the memory of, and support to, those who serve,” and “carries forward the core values of Honor, Respect, Duty and Love of Country.” For more information, please visit www.WelcomeVets.com.
Welcome Home Veterans/Richard’s Coffee Shop website, www.WelcomeVets.com
Nov. 11, 2011, “Remember veterans …” – a roundup of 2011 Veterans Day events, including the ceremony at Richard’s Coffee Shop.
May 5, 2009, “Deaths: Richard Warren, Pat’s Coffee Shop owner.” – Richard Warren was the father of the museum, starting it in his Main Street coffee shop.