Chesapeake coffee shop helping first responders, front line workers nationwide

Posted at 4:12 PM, May 27, 2020

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A veteran-owned coffee shop in Chesapeake is brewing up a way to help those on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know there's a mission that has to get done,” Pale Horse Coffee founder Don Wingard said.

Wingard, Mike Vecchione and Gray Livingston have more than 70 years' combined experience serving in the Armed Forces.

“I went in out of high school for four years, and stayed 21, so I think that speaks volumes,” Livingston said.

For Vecchione, his service included responding to events like the Boston Marathon bombing.

“We were glad that we had the chance to actually do our job, and we were glad we were in the position to help out at the time,” Vecchione said.

Now retired, their current post is the coffee shop.

For the past two months, the three have donated more than 300 pounds of coffee to first responders, healthcare workers and facilities nationwide during the pandemic, including the USNS Comfort.

“I think that, the three of us being in the military, we've probably consumed a lot of coffee over the years,” Livingston said.

“You look forward to your coffee before watch, or coffee before a mission, or coffee in the morning,” Vecchione said. “These people are working longer hours. These people need that extra energy to go. I think that helps them out. It also lets them know that people are thinking of them.”

Livingston, Vecchione and Wingard said customers can also help by buying donation boxes to send coffee to people on the front lines.

“It was pretty much the community stepping up to donate to the community,” Livingston said.

They'll continue adding fuel for the fight on the front lines.

“It's a positive in a little bit of a negative time,” Wingard said. “We figured if we could help push you a little bit further, help you stand the line a little taller, we push some caffeine, that's easy for us to do.”