American Hero: Heaven Hill honors North Carolina veteran with personalized bottle, $10,000

Heaven Hill Distillery will honor Air Force veteran Archie Cook Jr. with this year’s Evan Williams American Hero honor.

Cook Jr., a former U.S. Air Force major who lives in Cary, North Carolina, will receive a check for $10,000 and a personalized Evan Williams American Hero Edition bottle, a news release from the distillery says.

After leaving the Air Force, cook became involved in serving the underprivileged in his community, volunteering his time to distribute meals to the homeless in downtown Raleigh, the release says.

A dentist, Cook is planning events that would provide free and low-cost dental care to those in need in his community and will donate to the local nonprofit Veterans Empowering Veterans, which provides professional development, meals, clothing and other resources to veterans in the Fayetteville, North Carolina, area.

“Evan Williams Bourbon celebrates American-made heroes each year by honoring six outstanding veterans for their heroic acts of service both in the military and in their communities,” the distillery says. “These incredible men and women have committed their lives to serving their fellow Americans, so Evan Williams is making a $10,000 donation to the charity of the veteran’s choice to help further their mission of service in their community. Each veteran’s inspiring story of service at home and abroad will also be featured on a custom bottle in stores around Memorial Day.

Founded by the Shapira family in 1935, Heaven Hill — which, in my opinion, makes some of the best bourbon and rye on the market — has more than 1.3 million barrels aging in 55 warehouses throughout Nelson and Jefferson counties in Kentucky. The distillery also produces Elijah Craig, Fighting Cock, and Larceny bourbons, Pikesville and Rittenhouse ryes and Parker’s Heritage Collection. Heaven Hill was 2017 Whisky Advocate Whisky of the Year and previously held the titles of 2016 Whisky Magazine Distillery of the Year, 2016 Whisky Advocate American Whiskey of the Year and 2016 Rye Whiskey of the Year from “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.”

A media event for Cook is set 11:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, March 11, at Veterans Empowering Veterans,325 B St, in Fayetteville.