A former high school dropout finds inspiration, relaxation and rejuvenation from Drew Estate cigars while juggling work and family responsibilities and diligently chasing his dream of higher education
Edward Scott never dreamed that he would one day become a college graduate. He dropped out of high school when he was 16. By his early 20s he had married and begun a family and worked all the harder to earn a living. As is so often the case, making ends meet and taking care of his family were priorities that could have made achieving his educational goals a dream that was always just out of reach, but Edward wasn’t willing to be constrained by his circumstances. Seizing an opportunity to better himself while at the same time teaching his children a valuable lesson in the power of perseverance, Edward became the first member of his immediate family to earn a college degree, which he received on May 14, 2022.
“My grandfather was a coal miner in the hills of West Virginia,” Edward says. “My father left school to help his family and I grew up watching him work hard stuck at a job at the same facility for 44 years. I wanted to show my kids that no matter how late you start in life, you can do something if you try hard enough. That really was the whole purpose of me going back to school to earn this degree.”
Edward’s transformation into a college graduate has it roots more than a decade ago when he landed a job working security, which required him to earn a GED. After receiving his GED, Edward wanted more and noticed his colleagues at the security firm using downtime for self-improvement, including taking college classes on-line.
“They were getting paid and getting educated at the same time,” the 38-year-old Edward explains. “That pushed me to get started on my journey to get into college. I enjoyed getting my GED and I wanted to continue my education and get a college degree.”
Edward enrolled at Indiana Tech in nearby Fort Wayne in 2016. A few years later, he got a job working in emergency services as a public safety dispatcher, working the third shift in his hometown, Columbia City, Indiana. While working in emergency services, especially during the sleepy hours of his third-shift responsibilities, Edward continued his education but switched majors from General Studies to Criminal Justice. While taking courses on-line and on the Indiana Tech campus, Edward certainly learned a lot about law enforcement but more importantly, he discovered even more about himself.
“There were a lot of classes that I thought I would fail at the beginning, but they became the ones that I got the best grades in,” Edward explains. “It shocks me that when I push myself, I can do it. If I’m under pressure and must get something done, I get it done and I do it well. Every step forward and every accomplishment during my education added yet another goal and even more accomplishment. I found out that I’m smarter than I thought I was!”
Rejuvenating with Cigars
It was also during his time pursuing his education that Edward discovered a love for handmade premium cigars. Juggling full-time work, full-time school and the extra full-time responsibilities of being a husband and father of three, Edward needed to maximize any free time he had. A close friend suggested that he try a cigar and recommended an ACID Kuba Kuba by Drew Estate. Edward’s first cigar opened a whole new world for him and turned into a hobby that evolved into a passion that has become an important part of his life.
“Cigars and Drew Estate havehelped the most to get away and refresh myself,” Edward says. “I can get swamped by all the things I am doing but I can break away and enjoy a cigar. The mental release and moment of downtime I get from smoking a cigar helps so much. It recharges my batteries. I’ve done a lot of homework with a cigar in my mouth and I’m really thankful for the relaxation and ability to be free mentally for a moment that a cigar gives me.”
Frequenting Angelina’s Cigars in nearby Warsaw and Copper Canyon Tobacconist & Cigar Bar in Fort Wayne, Edward has become an inveterate cigar connoisseur who likes to try different cigars but always seems to find himself coming back to Drew Estate. While ACID Kuba Kuba was his long-time favorite cigar, Deadwood’s Fat Bottom Betty has moved to the top of his list, with Undercrown Sun Grown and Undercrown Shade being regular choices as well.
“All the cigars that I like are from Drew Estate,” Edward says. “No matter which ones I try, even the stronger cigars, Drew Estate cigars always seem to be smoother than others. They all have a good taste, and they always burn well. I’m always pleased and relaxed no matter what Drew Estate cigar I smoke. I know I can rely on Drew Estate. If I’m at a shop that I haven’t been to before, I know that I’m in a good place if they have a good Drew Estate selection.”
Edward’s love for Drew Estate extends beyond the cigars he enjoys most. He appreciates Drew Estate’s consumer-focused approach and has become friends with several Drew Estate employees, including his local territory manager, Rex Mercer. And he loves the company’s unique swag and attends as many local Drew Estate events as he can to snag some of the unique swag the company offers, which helps Edward spark conversations whenever he’s at a new cigar shop for the first time.
“No other company is as involved and has the culture that Drew Estate does,” Edward says. “I’ve been to many cigar events, and I always have the most fun and most connections at a Drew Estate event. I always come away with something cool. Every time there is a new thing coming out, people are bragging or showing off their new swag and you want to know how they got it. Having that is great, especially if you’re at a new store. I carry an ACID 20 bag and it sparks a conversation because of the interaction we all have had with the company. It really grows the connections whenever I go someplace new.”
Saying Thank You
With Graduation Day fast approaching, Edward and his wife, Tanalee, invited friends and family to his graduation party via Facebook. They also sent traditional invitations to friends and family who don’t use social media. With a few invitations left over, the couple decided to send them to celebrities and companies as thanks for inspiring Edward throughout his difficult journey. They mailed out seven of these special invitations to Edward’s favorite football teams, the maker of his favorite video game, three of his favorite bands and to his favorite cigar company, Drew Estate.
“I wanted to explain that I was truly thankful for their part in motivating me throughout my journey to graduate,” Edward explains. “I didn’t expect any responses but just hoped that somebody at each of the entities would read the note I wrote with each invitation and understand what sort of impact they had on me.”
Of those seven invitations only Drew Estate responded. Drew Estate CEO, Glenn Wolfson, called Edward to congratulate him on earning his Bachelor’s degree and then put together a package of Drew Estate swag, including cigar accessories and a DE25 commemorative humidor, as a gift. He also accepted the invitation to the party on Drew Estate’s behalf and arranged to have a representative join the celebration.
“When I got the call from Glenn, I thought it was a scam at first,” Edwards says laughing. “I had just woken up and then he started reading what I had written on the invitation. Drew Estate was the only one to respond. It’s very shocking that Drew Estate would come to the party, but I’m not completely surprised either. There is a family culture that Drew Estate fosters with its consumers and that’s probably the biggest reason why Drew Estate is my favorite cigar company. My cigar smoking buddies were amazed that Drew Estate would come to the party, and it cemented all our feelings about Drew Estate being our favorite company.”
As for Edward’s future, he plans to continue his education. He begins pursuing a Master’s degree in IT with a focus on cyber security beginning in the Fall through Purdue University’s Global Campus. Ultimately, who knows how many degrees and what sort of work lie ahead for him.
“Ten years ago, I never would have thought I would have been in the situation I’m in—having the great job that I have and being able to say I have a degree,” says Edward. “You never know what’s going to happen and I don’t know where it’s going to take me, but it’s a journey that I’m hoping to have a lot of fun pursuing.”
And it’s a journey, no doubt, that Edward will take—step-by-step and puff-by-puff—with plenty of Drew Estate cigars along the way.
About Drew Estate
Founded in 1996 in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, Drew Estate has singlehandedly defined modern day cigar culture through a hard-hitting, authentic, bottom-up approach to lifestyle branding and culture building. Our mission and manifesto is “The Rebirth of Cigars,” which we amplify through our uncanny authenticity, high energy and through deeply-loved brands produced from La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Estelí, Nicaragua, such as: ACID, 20 Acre Farm, Deadwood, Factory Smokes, Herrera Estelí, Isla del Sol, Kentucky Fire Cured, Liga Privada, Nica Rustica, Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented Cigars, Tabak Especial and Undercrown; and the celebrated Barn Smoker, Cigar Safari, Freestyle Live and Sticks & Sips experiential events. Learn more about our story and our brands by visiting Drew Estate.