American-Made Hero Foundation Fund 2021 grant applications now open
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2021
BARDSTOWN, Ky. – Evan Williams Bourbon today announced the 2021 class of veterans selected as American-Made Heroes. Each veteran’s picture and story of service in their active duty and civilian life will be featured on the side of the special-edition Evan Williams Black Bourbon label. The American-Made Heroes Foundation Fund, now in its second year, will award support through the 2021 Veteran Community Action grants.
As an American-made and American-owned brand, Evan Williams recognizes true American heroes through their exceptional stories of honor and bravery. This special edition label of Evan Williams Black Bourbon celebrates the heroic stories of military veterans, chosen for their selfless acts of service at home and abroad (bios included below). New for this year, invitations to be featured as an American-Made Hero were extended to veterans whose affiliate organization applied through the American-Made Hero Foundation Fund grant process. The 2021 Evan Williams American-Made Heroes were selected from more than 472 grant applications and are featured on more than 474,000 bottles available nationwide.
The 2021 American Hero edition packaging received the same new look as the Evan Williams Bourbon family, first announced in September 2020. The new signature bottle is complemented by a curved blue label adorned with red and white stripes and stars, and blue capsule featuring “Evan Williams” on the bottle neck. Proudly 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 Evan Williams American-Made Hero embodies Evan Williams’ values: hard-working, humbly confident, reliable, and imbued with American spirit, with their stories prominently featured on the side of the label along with their picture, name, and military title.
“We are honored to share the stories of this diverse group of veterans who have upheld the American spirit through extraordinary acts of service,” said Julie Cole, Evan Williams Bourbon Senior Brand Manager. “Through the American-Made Heroes Foundation Fund we are humbled to offer help to organizations that support veterans and lift up these communities.”
Applications are now open from May 17, 2021 through June 18, 2021 for the 2021 Veteran Community Action Grants through the American-Made Hero Foundation Fund. Grant applications are open to a variety of projects that help veterans including, but not limited to, initiatives in education, employment, the arts, recreation, housing, health, and human needs. Each project makes a meaningful difference in the lives of veterans and improves the enjoyment and quality of life for veterans. Full grant eligibility, rules and application details can be found here. First announced in April 2020, the fund focused its inaugural efforts with the COVID-19 Veteran Relief Grant, which awarded more than $70,000 to over 30 nonprofit organizations that supported veterans who were impacted by COVID. To date, Evan Williams has recognized 42 veteran heroes on its American Hero Edition bottles and donated more than $375,000 to nonprofits including FOB Hope, Backpacks for Life, Combined Arms, Hero’s Bridge, and more.
The Evan Williams American Hero Program will be supported this year with a new brand commercial, ‘Tried & True,’ that emphasizes the brand’s continued support and admiration of military veterans and their service to both country and community. The commercial will be featured through digital and social media. The brand has also launched an updated website, which highlights the new class of American-Made Heroes featured on the bottle and the American-Made Heroes Foundation.
The 2021 Evan Williams American-Made Heroes are:
Roman Baca, New York, Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps: Roman enlisted before 9/11 and went from performing classical ballet to serving with the 25th Marines. His dance training and military training come together at Exit12: a dance company that shares veterans’ stories of survival through powerful performance art. To learn more about Exit12 Dance Company, visit https://exit12danceco.org/.
Rita Aragon, Oklahoma City, Major General, U.S. Air Force (Ret.): As a young single mother, Rita made the decision to enlist in 1979. She retired after a decorated 28-year career, becoming the first female commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. Today she continues to serve as Board President of Honoring America’s Warriors. To learn more about Honoring America’s Warriors, visit https://honoringamericaswarriors.org/.
Antione Hines, Chesapeake, Va., Petty Officer, U.S. Navy (Ret.): Antione served as a Submarine Nuclear Electrician for 10 years and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and the Global War on Terrorism. He is the Founder and CEO of Veteran’s HomeFront – a nonprofit organization supporting homeless, at-risk and disconnected veterans since 2016. To learn more about Veteran’s Homefront, visit https://www.veteranshomefront.vet/.
Michael Delancy, Pinellas Park, Fla., Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps: While serving with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines in Iraq, Mike came under enemy fire and was awarded the Purple Heart. In 2015 he founded the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch – a wheelchair-accessible sports park designed to inspire veterans to go out and be active. To learn more about the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch, visit https://woundedwarriorsabilitiesranch.org/.
Joshua Perschbacher, Waterloo, Ill., Petty Officer, U.S. Navy: During his four years in the Navy, Josh completed two deployments to the Middle East as an Operations Specialist. He has dedicated his post-military career to helping veterans access education and professional networking opportunities through his nonprofit, The Vetwork. To learn more about The Vetwork, visit https://www.thevetwork.org/.
Monique Brown, Tacoma, Wash., Staff Sergeant, U.S. Arm, Army Reserves, and National Guard (Ret.): Monique’s decorated military career included service in the Army National Guard, the Army Reserves, and 13 years of active duty. She retired after 26 years and founded FOB Hope – a nonprofit organization supporting homeless and vulnerable veterans in Washington State. To learn more about FOB Hope, visit https://www.fobhope.org/.
The Evan Williams American Hero Edition bottle is available nationally in a 1.75L for a suggested retail price of $24.99 and is bottled at 43 percent alcohol by volume (86 proof). To learn more about each of the 2021 American-Made Heroes and to apply for funding through the American-Made Heroes Foundation Fund, visit https://american-madeheroes.com/.
ABOUT EVAN WILLIAMS: The flagship Bourbon of Heaven Hill Distillery, Evan Williams is among the leaders in the rapidly growing American Whiskey segment as the world’s second largest-selling Bourbon. Evan Williams is a proud sponsor of Major League Baseball and the World Series, first forming a partnership with the national pastime in 2016. As an American-made and American-owned brand, Evan Williams has recognized true American heroes through their exceptional stories of honor and bravery on special edition American-Made Hero labels for the past seven years, now supported by the American-Made Heroes Foundation Fund. The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience (www.EvanWilliamsBourbonExperience.com) celebrates the legacy of Evan Williams through an immersive visitor’s center experience which brings to life the history and tradition of Kentucky’s native spirit as an official stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN-MADE HEROES FOUNDATION FUND: Evan Williams is honored to broaden its support of veteran communities across the country through the launch of the American-Made Heroes Foundation Fund, announced in April 2020. The American-Made Heroes Foundation Fund was established to show Evan Williams’ pride in being American-made and owned, and to give back to those who served. Our purpose is: to provide a platform for sharing inspiring veteran stories; to raise public awareness for causes impacting the veteran community; and to support nonprofit organizations that help veterans through a specialized grant program.
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