Frankfort, Frankin County, KY - Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has named Master Gunnery Sergeant Charles Padilla of San Marcos, Calif. as the winner of the 2011 Rare Life Award.
Eagle Rare will donate $10,000 to Padilla's charitable cause of choice, the Semper Fi Fund for wounded Marines. A reception and award ceremony will be held in his honor in the near future.
During his 30-year military career, Sergeant Padilla distinguished himself in countless military campaigns as part of the Marine reconnaissance unit, even serving with the British Royal Marine Mountain Leader Course. But during his long service, his heart was never far from his wounded comrades. So when he heard about a cross-country run to benefit the Semper Fi Fund, he signed up immediately.
Taking its name from the Forrest Gump film's main character, the Gumpathon route stretched from New York to Los Angeles, across 3,530 miles including three deserts, three time zones and ten mountain ranges. Master Guns Padilla and his team ran every mile of it with his wounded buddies in mind. Sergeant Padilla helped to raise $50,555 for the Semper Fi Fund through this run, to which Eagle Rare will add another $10,000.
It is because of his courage, leadership, survival, devotion, character and heroism that Charles Padilla is the 2011 Rare Life Award winner.
Eagle Rare will also donate $1,000 to the charities of choice of the six runner up winners:
* Holly Morrell: Laguna Beach, CA (Heartfelt Cardiac Projects)
* Jan Howard: Nashville, TN (ASMBA Star Foundation)
* Kurt Clodfelter: Glen Burnie, MD (Sarah's House)
* Paul Sebring: Casa Grande, AZ (Materials Management Relief Corps)
* Thomas Bassano: Palm Harbor, FL (LIVESTRONG)
* Donna Norris: Hurst, TX (Charity not yet selected)
The Rare Life Award is an annual recognition program created to honor individuals that exhibit courage, leadership, survival, devotion, character and heroism. Candidates are nominated by friends, family and colleagues. Their stories and photos are posted online at www.eaglerarelife.com, where visitors vote on these inspirational stories.