We collectively thank them for their service!
Fawn Weaver is the CEO of Uncle Nearest, a premium whiskey brand she launched in 2016 after a chance encounter with a bit of hidden history while traveling abroad, Forbes reports. While traveling in Singapore with her husband, Weaver came across a photo of Jack Daniel with George Green, who Weaver would later find out was the son of a master whiskey distiller named Uncle Nearest. Formerly enslaved, it was Nearest who taught Jack Daniel how to make Tennessee whiskey, the latter going on to become a household name in the liquor industry.
It was an aha moment for Weaver, leading the veteran entrepreneur down to Tennessee where she wound up purchasing the 300-acre farm where Nearest taught Daniel how to distill, reclaiming a tiny piece of African American history. With no previous experience in the industry, Weaver opened up the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee and today, Uncle Nearest is one of the fastest growing whiskey brands ever.
“I didn't have an online presence before Uncle Nearest, outside of being a bestselling author. I've been investing in lifestyle brands, whether restaurants or fitness studios, for the better part of the last 20 years. Before that, I had special events and a PR firm. I became an entrepreneur when I was 18, and I'm now 45, so we're going back 27 years. Entrepreneurship has been my life. I've always stayed in the realm of storytelling. I'm drawn to brands that have a good story,” Weaver previously told reporters.
Now Weaver is expanding the brand’s story, using her platform as CEO to honor other facets of American history, starting with our U.S. troops. Recently, Weaver took to social media to share footage from her #CEOThankYouTour, where she traveled the country paying personal homage to our U.S. soldiers. Weaver’s tour is historic, making her the first company CEO to ever visit 30 military bases honoring the service troops. For her service, Weaver was honored with a special ceremony fit for a queen. As a civilian, she walked the same steps every American president had before since 1925, to place her very own wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. A sacred place for veterans and service members, the tomb is symbolic of those who died in combat and were never found or identified.
“Today, I did what no CEO before me has ever done…I may have been the first CEO…But I am confident I won’t be the last. Just blazing the trail for thousands more to come behind me and do the same,” said Weaver.
On her tour, Weaver taught leadership development sessions to the soldiers, and commissioned a special CEO Thank You Tour challenge coin, which she has offered to any active duty soldier or veteran. In gratitude, she thanked her personal military advisor and every base who welcomed her with open arms. What first started out as a tour has now inspired Weaver to a lifetime of service, the Uncle Nearest CEO saying she plans to continue her visits “indefinitely.”
“Only four bases remain in my original #CEOThankYouTour schedule. But I’m scrapping the schedule. I will continue this indefinitely. Because every troop I’ve met has made sure to let me know my presence mattered to them…I will continue to encourage our service members and vets…until we’ve helped each one around the world,” she explained.
Absolutely incredible. What a selfless and honorable thing to do. For your contributions, we salute you Fawn Weaver!
Cover photo: Fawn Weaver makes history as first CEO in American history to visit 30 military bases honoring U.S. troops/Photo Courtesy of Fawn Weaver/Instagram