Warrior Taste Fest is our largest fundraiser of the year, and it is critical to the success of our mission: to guide post-9/11 veterans and their loved ones to thrive and find peace, meaning, and purpose. This event wouldn't be possible without 40 Montana-based businesses generously donating their time, food, and labor.
One such business is Bozeman Spirits Distillery. The Warriors & Quiet Waters (WQW) mission has always resonated with Mary Pat, the owner of Bozeman Spirits Distillery. She had a strong friendship with Jean Hastings, WQW's first donor, founder of the volunteer Moms program, and the wife of WQW's founder Col. Eric Hastings. She says this relationship alone would have been enough for her to partner with WQW.
Further strengthening her desire to be involved was her relationship with her grandfather, who was like a father to her. He suffered from PTS, stemming from his service in World War II. Growing up, she fished with her grandfather, and during these outings together, he would begin sharing his experiences with her. The peace he found when they spent time together helped him to relax and provided him healing. She firmly believes WQW has shown that there is power in the healing found in Montana's majestic outdoors.
Another significant supporter of WQW is Willie Blazer of Willie's Distillery. Before starting the distillery with his late wife, Robin, Willie served as an Army Ranger and Special Forces Medic, a Hotshot Wildland Firefighter, and a Smokejumper. Service is central to his identity.
Willie's Distillery has been a part of Warrior Taste Fest for several years and even won the Best Cocktail Award at last year's event. Blazer noted that his veteran-owned business makes a conscious effort to support organizations that give back to those who have served our nation.
"We understand the necessity for Warriors and Quiet Waters and the importance of supporting their mission. We're proud to be associated with WQW, their values, and culture. WQW makes a massive impact on veteran lives, and we are fortunate to see them evolve first-hand."
WQW is grateful for the support of Bozeman Spirits Distillery, Willie's Distillery, and other businesses making Warrior Taste Fest possible.
"Such benevolence demonstrates our community's passion for supporting one another, which extends to helping veterans thrive after military service," said Emily Sather, Chief Development Officer of WQW.