TERRE HAUTE — Jack Daniel’s, the Tennessee distillery, has made a one-of-a-kind bottle to honor a Terre Haute police officer killed in the line of duty and presented the bottle to the officer’s brother.
The bottle honors Rob Pitts, who was killed in a shootout with a homicide suspect on May 4, 2018. Pitts was a 16-year veteran of the Terre Haute Police Department and prior to that was a 6 year veteran of the Sullivan City Police Department.
“It came as a complete surprise,” said Greg Pitts, Rob Pitts’ brother.
The bottle was shipped about two months ago, but Greg Pitts kept quiet about it until this week, when he shared the information and photos on his Facebook page and then the Indiana Going Blue Facebook page. The story’s since been shared many times and picked up by media outlets.
Jack Daniel’s spokesman Svend Jansen said the bottle “was a commemorative piece that was specially engraved for the family of Officer Pitts. There are no plans to make this available for public purchase.”
Gregg Pitts wrote on Facebook:
“I’ve kept this to myself, other than family, for a while now. Jack Daniel’s has made me a bottle in honor of my brother. I cannot begin to explain how much this means to me. For a company such as this to do something like this. I have no words. … On behalf of me and my family, thank you! #196”
The engraved bottle has Officer Pitts’ name, department, badge number and end-of-watch date, as well as elaborate designs on the other sides of the bottle related to National Police Week.
Greg Pitts said that when he was in Washington D.C. earlier this year for National Police Week, Jack Daniel’s — in a project with the Fraternal Order of Police in Washington, D.C. — made a limited number of special bottles, with each of those bottle bearing the names of four officers who had fallen in 2018.
Greg purchased a bottle hoping to get one that included his brother’s name. When he didn’t, he made a post on Facebook trying to find one that did have Rob’s name. He was willing to buy such a bottle or to trade the one he’d bought in D.C.
He received a message from the president of the FOP in Washington, D.C., who contacted Jack Daniel’s to see “if I could send a bottle in and have Rob’s name added.”
Instead, the distillery made a one-of-a-kind bottle specially dedicated to Rob Pitts.
Kevin Sanders, known as the Jack Daniel’s “barrel man,” signed the bottle, and it was shipped to Greg.
Greg Pitts visited Jack Daniel’s in Lynchburg, Tennessee, last week “to thank [Sanders] for the bottle … it continues to show you how good people are. People care, especially when it comes to law enforcement.”