Two men sit together to sign their names on hundreds of blank labels. These are no ordinary men, and their signatures do not represent just identity but perseverance, strength and sacrifice.
“I sat there, me and Leroy, and he’s only got one hand and we’re each trying to carefully sign these labels so that you can tell who signed it..” said Master Sergeant Earl Plumlee, a Medal of Honor recipient.
Leroy Petry, a retired Army Ranger and a Medal of Honor recipient signed each label with only one hand. During his Afghanistan deployment in May 2008, Petry faced multiple gunshot wounds to the legs and still managed to save his fellow Army Rangers by throwing back incoming grenades, resulting in a total loss of his hand.
For Plumlee, being a Medal of Honor recipient is all about representing the brotherhood of being a patriot.
“I like to represent all those people who’ve done heroic deeds on the battlefield, on behalf of the nation, and didn’t get singled out.” Plumlee explained.
While deployed in 2013, Plumlee and his Special Forces team rushed toward the explosion site, shielding their wounded comrades from insurgents. Despite sustaining a wound from a suicide vest detonation, Plumlee valiantly eliminated two insurgents and continued his solo advance. He later joined a counterattack, rescued a wounded soldier, and organized a defensive position, ultimately clearing the battlefield of insurgents, showcasing his unwavering courage and dedication in the face of intense enemy fire.
“When I walked into the Marine Corps recruiter’s office and I could pick any job I wanted, I picked infantry because that’s the more arduous path and I wanted to be known for that. And eventually it just became a lifestyle, even to the point where in Special Forces, you get known for continuously seeking out difficult tasks and jobs and it just really becomes a part of your personality.” Master Sergeant Plumlee explained.
Master Sergeant Petry and Master Sergeant Plumlee are two of six Medal of Honor recipients to be featured in a limited edition release of Cold Zero Spirits whiskey. Each of the 2000 limited edition bottles will be signed by a Medal of Honor recipient.
“We took our original whiskey and we barreled it in wine casks from Napa that had previously held Cabernet wine… We let them sit for eight months in those wine barrels. So this whiskey will have a slightly different flavor profile than our original whiskey that we released last year.” Casey Maxted, CEO of Cold Zero spirits.
Cold Zero Spirits is a whiskey and vodka company founded by patriots. The venture strives to give back to the brotherhood and will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the limited release to the Medal of Honor Society.
Master Sergeant Plumlee sees the release as a new opportunity for people to get to know the men behind the Medal of Honor.
“We only have 64 Living recipients right now and the predominance of those are Vietnam veterans… right now they’re still alive. You can write him a letter and ask them a question, but in 10 years, they’re all going to be gone. And you’ll have missed your chance to hear directly from them.” said Sargent Plumlee.
The stories behind the signatures will be featured in a weekly post from Cold Zero Spirits. “Our goal with this is to keep their stories alive. We want people to know their stories because they’re incredible. The warrior spirit is in each one, and we want people to read those and understand what these heroes gave for our country,” said Maxted.
The limited edition bottles are set to release in late October, in time for Veterans Day and can be found on their website, www.coldzerospirits.com, and available in Iowa at Hy Vee and Fareway and select AAFES locations.
“All the people that I still serve with, had served with those guys and they were all really excited for (Cold Zero Spirits) success and the fact that we were working out this collaboration with the Medal of Honor Society,” said Master Sergeant Plumlee.