A select group of veterans is the new Evan Williams American-Made Heroes, recognized as those who are making a difference in their communities and across our country.
Evan Williams Bourbon announced today the 2022 class of veterans selected as American-Made Heroes to be featured on the limited-edition Evan Williams American Hero bottles. Each of the six veterans is affiliated with organizations that were recipients of the 2021 Veteran Community Action Grants awarded by the Evan Williams American-Made Heroes Foundation Fund.
First established in 2020, the American-Made Heroes Foundation Fund continues the brand’s support of veteran communities since launching the Evan Williams American-Made Heroes program and limited-edition label in 2015. To date, Evan Williams has recognized 48 veteran heroes on its American Hero Edition bottles and has donated $450,000 to nonprofits supporting the veteran community across the country.
“As an American-made and American-owned Bourbon, we are proud to celebrate the heroic stories of military veterans, chosen for their selfless acts of service at home and abroad,” Julie Cole, Evan Williams Bourbon Senior Brand Manager said. “The purpose of the foundation is not only to provide a platform for sharing their inspiring stories, but also raising public awareness for causes impacting the veteran community and supporting nonprofit organizations that help veterans and their families.”
The 2022 Evan Williams American-Made Heroes are:
Petty Officer, U.S. Navy
Chris joined the U.S. Navy and graduated from the U.S. Military Intelligence School, where he trained to be a Cryptologic Naval Intelligence Operator. After later sustaining a traumatic brain injury and being medically separated from the Navy, Chris returned to his South Dakota roots to establish what is now the DTOM 22/0 Foundation and Veterans Ranch, a safe place for healing and recovery for military service members, veterans, and their families. To learn more about the DTOM 22/0 Foundation and Veterans Ranch, visit https://dtom220.org/.
Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Alan first enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and later joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he worked with a total of five military service dogs during his 11 years there. Feeling restless in his retirement, Alan continued to pursue his passion of working with canines and in 2018 he founded WhiteHaven Canine Evaluators, a nonprofit organization that currently serves 15–24 veterans annually by selecting and training dogs to be life-saving Emotional Support Animals. To learn more about WhiteHaven Canine, visit https://whitehavencanine.org/.
Major, U.S. Air Force (RET.)
Shirley worked in communications for the U.S. Air Force for 22 years, leading critical initiatives at the Pentagon and across Europe. Upon retirement, she continued to help others by volunteering with her church which led to co-founding the organization Serve Our Willing Warriors and later opening the Warrior Retreat Center at Bull Run, providing a much-needed break for recovering service members at military hospitals. To learn more about Serve Our Willing Warriors and Warrior Retreat at Bull Run, visit https://www.willingwarriors.org/
DeAndria L. Hardy
Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
DeAndria served as an Ammunition Tech and Squad Leader as part of Operation Western Accord in 2012. She was later honorably discharged and struggled to find the support she needed as a female veteran. DeAndria continued to fight to improve her circumstances and launched the BattleBetty Foundation in August 2018. BattleBetty is South Carolina’s first Women Veteran Resource Center providing emergency shelter, a clothes closet, and empowerment workshops to female veterans. To learn more about the BattleBetty Foundation, visit https://battlebettyfoundation.com.
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army (RET.)
Marilyn deployed to Iraq as a full-time U.S. Army medic, where she assisted in providing medical care to over 4,000 troops. She served for 13 years before untreated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) led to her medical retirement. She then became involved with Shamrock Reins, a specialized equine therapy center offering complimentary services to military veterans. Marilyn joined the board in 2015 and remains committed to the ongoing success of the organization and assisting fellow service members in their transition to civilian life. To learn more about Shamrock Reins, visit https://shamrockreins.org.
Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force (RET.)
After numerous deployments around the world as an Operational Medic with the U.S. Air Force, Mike was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He was medically retired after serving for more than 23 years and joined a program that paired service dogs with veterans. The restorative therapy Mike received from his own service dog, Orion, became the genesis for Healing Paws for Warriors (HP4Ws), a nonprofit organization Mike co-founded. Healing Paws for Warriors provides rescue to trained service dogs to combat veterans faced with PTSD, TBI and/or MST at no cost to the veteran. To learn more, visit https://www.healingpawsforwarriors.org.
The limited-edition American Hero bottling is adorned with red and white stripes and stars. Displayed on the side of each bottle is one of the brand’s key taglines “American Owned, American Made, American Proud” celebrating Evan Williams’ legacy as Kentucky’s first commercial distiller. Each bottling prominently features one of the American-Made Heroes on the side of the label along with their story of service.
More than 400,000 bottles of the Evan Williams American Hero Edition are available nationwide, bottled at 86 proof for a suggested retail price of $24.99 for the 1.75L.
To learn more about each of the 2022 American-Made Heroes and the American-Made Heroes Foundation Fund, visit https://american-madeheroes.com/.