As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the United States, everyday heroes stepped up to support family, friends, neighbors and strangers. These "local legends" have provided unity, comfort, nourishment and relief during these unprecedented health and economic challenges. To show support, Matthew McConaughey and Wild Turkey give thanks and celebrate four selfless individuals from Austin, Chicago, Dallas, and New Orleans who've demonstrated unwavering conviction in serving their communities.
These small but profound heroic acts were recognized, as part of the Bourbon brand's With Thanks annual global give back campaign. Wild Turkey Creative Director McConaughey surprised these "local legends" with a virtual chat and rewarded them with a personalized token of appreciation to thank them for their efforts. Wild Turkey is releasing all four videos chronicling the surprises on its Instagram page.
McConaughey spoke personally with each "local legend" to learn about their work during the pandemic:
- Austin singer/songwriter Nakia Reynoso helped pass the Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund to support local musicians.
- Chicago activist Tanya Lozano is providing free COVID-19 testing, grocery deliveries and personal protective items to underserved communities in her area.
- Dallas nonprofit founder Shawana Carter is providing families in need with emergency diapers, wipes, food and clothing.
- New Orleans dad and artist Devin De Wulf is collaborating with locally owned restaurants and farmers markets to hire and feed New Orleans artists and musicians.
McConaughey and Wild Turkey worked with the legend's families, friends and colleagues to reward each local hero with a personalized token of appreciation and contribution to their charity based on individual needs.
"The pandemic has affected all of us, so it felt more important than ever to recognize the unsung heroes who have consistently and steadfastly supported their neighbors and their communities," McConaughey said in a statement.
Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell added: "It's often during the most challenging times that you see extraordinary acts of kindness and a commitment to help those in need. Wild Turkey was founded on community, and we're grateful to work with Matthew to celebrate and lift up those who go above and beyond for their hometowns. These four local legends made an impact when it mattered the most and we're thrilled to honor them."
Last year, McConaughey and Wild Turkey thanked first responders who were critical in the rescue and relief efforts around the wildfires in the Los Angeles area, delivering 800 turkey dinners to firehouses in partnership with nonprofit Operation BBQ Relief. In 2018, they thanked first responders in Houston following Hurricane Harvey, surprising them with turkey dinners. And in 2017, McConaughey visited Wild Turkey's hometown of Lawrenceburg, Ky., to deliver more than 4,500 frozen turkeys to residents, including 500 turkeys to the local food bank.
McConaughey has been the creative director for Wild Turkey since 2016. The relationship began upon the actor's inaugural visit to the Kentucky distillery, where he was introduced to the Russells — the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame father and son Master Distiller team who have 101 years of Bourbon industry experience collectively. McConaughey had an immediate connection with the Russells when he discovered Wild Turkey's devotion to distilling Bourbon the right, unapologetic way. In 2018, McConaughey unveiled his own Bourbon: Wild Turkey Longbranch, a rare small-batch Kentucky straight bourbon refined with Texas Mesquite. Most recently, he directed Longbranch's first creative campaign entitled Wonder What If.