EPISODE 22 - Operation Ride Home with ASYMCA’s Admiral French 


At Jack Daniel’s, we have a deep appreciation for those who serve in our nation’s military and strive to provide support whenever we can. When we learned that many active duty junior-enlisted service members could not afford to travel home for the holidays, we wanted to do all that we could to help. In 2011, we launched Operation Ride Home in conjunction with the Armed Services YMCA to provide the funds so that many of these men and women could be with their loved ones during this special time of year. On this episode of Around the Barrel, we uncover why this program is so important, and hear from Admiral William French, President and CEO of the ASYMCA, about the impact it has on those who sacrifice so much.


Operation Ride Home Logo


No matter how many employees we might have at Jack Daniel’s, we still like to think of ourselves as a family company. Many distillery employees are second and third generation workers. Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher is the grandson of former Master Distiller Frank Bobo and even Mr. Jack himself left his whiskey-making business to his nephew, Lem Motlow. And with the bonds forged around here in Lynchburg, the few who aren’t related by blood might as well be. 


The importance of family runs deeps at Jack Daniel’s, and it is a major factor in the charitable initiative we have proudly run for eight years now – Operation Ride Home.


Through our longstanding support of our nation’s military, we learned that many of the men and women who already sacrifice so much often must also sacrifice spending holidays with family. We knew we had to help. After all, a holiday not spent with family just isn’t a holiday. In 2011, we teamed up with the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) to create Operation Ride Home to provide financial assistance to active duty junior-enlisted military members and their families to travel home for the holidays. Jack Daniel’s donates $100,000 to the campaign every year, which is supplemented by donations from the public. 


Through this program, we have been able to bring many families together. In 2018 alone, we provided travel for 822 men and women from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard and their families. To date, we have helped 7,232 individuals travel in all 50 states.


To learn more about this initiative and the service members it assists, host Lucas Hendrickson sat down with ASYMCA President and CEO Bill French. Admiral French served in the Navy for 35 years before retiring in 2014. He joined the ASYMCA in 2015 to enhance the lives of military service members and their families through programs relevant to the unique challenges of military life. As someone who has seen first-hand the support that service members and their families need while in the military, as well as the positive impact a family visit can have, Admiral French is a staunch supporter of Operation Ride Home.


Join us for this episode of Around the Barrel as we learn more about the Operation Ride Home program, why, for these individuals, a trip home is so much more than a visit and discover a few of Admiral French’s favorite Operation Ride Home stories.

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