At 1350 Distilling it is a part of our mission to donate 10% of our profits back to local veteran and family charities. Last year we donated over $7,900 to a wide assortment of non-profits through money, like-kind, and rental room donations. 2022 is no different and we are proud to announce a special fundraiser this month for Veterans Victory Alliance (VVA) on Saturday, 23 April from 5-10pm.
One of our many faces on our Wall of Honor is that of Race Roberson, who served in the USMC with our Head Distiller and President, Phill Bragg. Race is a Board Member and VVA's Fundraising Director. He is coming from the East Coast to 1350 Distilling, along with local Colorado Springs residents VVA's Founder & CEO, Tori Miralda, VVA's COO Mary Miller, and VVA's Secretary Brandy Moralez to host their 2022 fundraising event in our Taste Lounge.
We will have our first official release of our Space Force Guardian Bourbon on this evening, along with a great number of items that will be purchased and auctioned to help raise money for VVA.
Being a Space Force town, we are changing our Guardian Bourbon label originally dedicated to the US Coast Guard into special labels that pay homage to the men and women that comprise the newest military branch originated in December of 2019, the US Space Force. This bottle will only be sold in the Pikes Peak region and has been claimed as our best looking label yet. It will be officially available starting at the Veterans Victory Alliance Fundraiser. A portion of all sales will be donated to VVA this evening, 5-10pm Saturday, 23 April.
Want to know about the great service that Veterans Victory Alliance offers? Here are some of the details:
Mission. Veterans Victory Alliance (VVA) provides a Montana Sanctuary Experience venue for Veterans and First Responder Programs to Reconnect, Recreate, and Rejuvenate.
VVA offers Veteran and First Responder programs a rustic and comfortable Montana ranch facility for like-mission programs to conduct programs and events focused on personal and team wellness, leveraging the majestic outdoor recreational venue of Moon Eagle River Ranch.
Through collaborations with like-minded programs, currently we offer their staffs and participants limited cabin accommodations, but with our long-term vision, we can offer rustic camping opportunities, via tents, RVs, and eventually two and four-person cabins.
Vision. VVA will become the venue of choice in Montana for nation-wide programs in need of an exceptional outdoor venue experience in which to conduct their activities. Our team, assembled by founder Victoria Miralda, Colonel, U.S. Army Retired, established this vision to provide this space uniquely for our Veterans and First Responders, as a result of first-hand experience with the invisible wounds service often imposes. The establishment of Moon Eagle River Ranch (MERR) is grounded in the desire to unite the community and reduce the unacceptable national Veterans and First Responder suicide rates, replacing it with healthy outlets.
Venue. VVA maintains the MERR, in Sula, Montana, a dedicated wilderness site for Veterans and First-Responders to gather in a supportive environment to further personal and partner program team goals, and to “Reconnect, Recreate, and Rejuvenate” their minds, bodies, and spirits.
Facilities. MERR is located at the edge of the Montana Anaconda-Pindler Wilderness, along the east fork of the famous Bitterroot River. MERR includes a guest house, stable, private residence, two homestead cabins, two warehouses, an operations center, with kitchen and bathroom, multiple garages, and a 28-foot diameter Lodge TiPi. MERR is 31 miles Southeast of where the Paramount network series “Yellowstone” is filmed in the glorious Bitterroot Valley.
Services. VVA provides the venue and meals, and conducts the coordination with local outfitters and businesses for selected program activities in support of other like-minded nonprofit organizations (Programs), which closely align with our own service values, focusing on the Veteran and First Responder.
Non-Profit Status. On 11/24/2020, the VVA received its Articles of Incorporation certification by the State of Montana. As of 05/04/2021, the VVA is also recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a Tax Exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
Donors and Sponsors. Currently, the founder, directors, team members, and a variety of veteran friends and family have provided funds, labor, time, and facility improvement items. Since our initial startup time in late 2020, our team members have personally donated in excess of $80,000 to upgrade the 17-acre ranch, to meet building code requirements, and provide safe and appropriate accommodations for program participants.
In 2020 and 2021, the VVA successfully built a Board of Directors, designated officers, established a Board of Advisors, and purchased the 17-acres of land with buildings at MERR. We also have built community relationships and are members of the Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Nonprofit Association, and have active outreach with the Billie Springer Memorial Veteran Community, adjacent to MERR. This community has 504 home lots. These active Veteran volunteers consistently support the MERR and our plans to build community awareness, as well as, supporting each other’s missions.
Supporting Community. MERR is located 14-miles from the town of Sula, 32-miles from Darby, 50-miles from Hamilton, and 95-miles from Missoula. The services and businesses located in these towns, along the Highway 93 corridor, offer the full spectrum of capability required in our business model of developing a menu of activities based upon our partnered organizations preferences and goals. In the local area there are 22 outfitters to lead outdoor recreational activities.
VVA has been warmly welcomed by the business communities in the nearby towns of Sula, Darby, and Hamilton. Our Founder has also met with the Ravalli County Sheriff and a State Senator to provide awareness of our mission, vision, and location. We anticipate that local outfitters, restaurants, merchants, and tradespeople will benefit from the presence of VVA at MERR, by being hired to provide goods and services and support our like-minded programs. We will strive to be good neighbors and business partners by hosting community events at MERR when peer programs are not in session.
Veteran-specific support is available nearby. American Legion Post 27, Veterans of Foreign War Post 209, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Valley Veterans Service Center, and a Veterans Affairs clinic have offices in Missoula and Hamilton. Activities will be tailored to the specific group in order to meet their program goals, and adapted to meet the capability levels of participants.
The Billie Springer Memorial veteran community is located directly across East Fork Road from MERR. The resident population has proven to be a valuable and knowledgeable resource for the VVA. Veterans with a wide variety of specialties in mountain and ranch craft have eagerly come forward to volunteer and have assisted VVA with program support activities. Veterans helping veterans is at the core of our focus and Springer Memorial brings multi-generational Veteran community to life.
Summary of Future Plans:
- Begin booking and hosting programs by July 2022.
- Hire a full-time ranch manager by 2023.
- By 2026, with major donor, grants, and endowments, VVA plans to grow the ranch with a combination bathroom, shower, and laundry facility, up to eight guest cabins, a kitchen / dining facility, a 10 guest room lodge and meeting center, an aquatic center, a Warrior Pavilion, a natural amphitheater, and a greenhouse for sustainability.
Please visit their website at https://veteransvictoryalliance.org/