I was saddened to hear this morning that Roger Brashears, who spent decades promoting the Jack Daniel Distillery -- and, by extension, Tennessee tourism -- passed away on Saturday at Harton Regional Medical Center in Tullahoma.
Mr. Brashears would not likely have remembered me -- I only met him a few times -- but he was about as colorful and about as passionate a spokesman for the distillery, the town of Lynchburg, and southern Middle Tennessee tourism as you could imagine.
According to his obituary at the Lynchburg Funeral Home web site, he was with the distillery for 47 years, and his awards included the Southeast Tourism Society's "Man of the Year" (not surprising, as he was one of the society's founders), the Tourism Roundtable's "Excalibur Award," and many others. He was a former president of Tennessee's Backroads Heritage Tourism.
Tourism dollars are generally considered a great boost to a local economy, because they bring in tax revenue without making as many demands on local infrastructure as an influx of new residents does. And the regional tourism industry, including Bedford County, definitely benefitted from Mr. Brashears' influence.