Dolly Parton’s Niece Danielle Is A Decorated Pilot With Her Very Own Distillery

If there’s one thing the Dolly Parton‘s family has mastery of, it’s carving their own unique paths. The “Jolene” singer is the fourth of twelve children and one of her brothers has a daughter named Danielle who is keeping up the family tradition of making each day remarkable.

Remarkable sounds like an understatement when considering the fact that Dolly’s niece, Danielle, is a pilot, serves on the National Guard, has her own distillery, and has earned several heroism awards. But all this is par for the course for Danielle, who says she has a spirit that would forever be restless doing office work. Just when you think you know everything about 47-year-old Danielle Parton, another twist awaits.

Danielle Parton had an exceptional start to her whirlwind life

Meet Danielle Parton, a decorated pilot and distillery owner
Meet Danielle Parton, a decorated pilot and distillery owner / Instagram

The Parton family began with humble roots; Danielle’s legendary musical aunt was born in the family’s single-room cabin to a mother who fell ill from her many pregnancies. Danielle’s paternal grandfather worked multiple jobs to supplement the family’s meager income. In 1998, Danielle graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. At that moment, Danielle became the first female in the Parton family to earn a college degree, hers being a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration.

Danielle has several heroism awards
Danielle has several heroism awards / Instagram

But she wasn’t done soaring to new heights – not by a long shot. Danielle went on to work as a flight attendant for American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Her passion for the skies wasn’t satiated, though, and she took her dedication to a new level when she joined the Air National Guard.

According to her website, Danielle served on the 118th Wing, Nashville; 123th Airlift Wing, Louisville, Kentucky; and the 164th Airlift Wing, Memphis as a pilot. But these days, she’s the Chief of Public Affairs at the 118th Wing.

Danielle Parton has amassed awards and achievements of every sort

Danielle’s aviation career has, itself, been marked by greatness. She made the Commodore’s List of Flying Excellence for Under Graduate Pilot Training and boasts Distinguished Graduate of C-5 Initial Qualification. She also earned the Air Medal and Combat Action Medal.

Remarkably, Danielle has found time between all her combat excellence to pursue other passions that are off the beaten path.

“My Papaw was known to make a little ’shine to support his family,” Danielle shared. “Mamaw was not exactly thrilled that he was the ‘tester.’”

Captain Danielle Parton and Florence Shutsy Reynolds
Captain Danielle Parton and Florence Shutsy Reynolds / U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Vicky Spesard / Wikimedia Commons

Like father, like daughter. Last spring, Danielle formally opened Shine Girl, a distillery dedicated to “smart, playful, and delicious moonshine.” Danielle wants to inject a definitively feminine presence in the world of distilling, saying, “I don’t think a lot of distilleries really understand women. Women do at least 70 percent of the decision-making in the shopping though, so I’m taking an overtly feminine approach.” Though, she notes, at least half the customers are still men.

On top of all that, Danielle found a way to honor her famous aunt with Dollymosa, a drink she concocted that is comprised of Shine Girl’s rosé moonshine, orange juice, and club soda.

There’s no denying: Partons know how to stand out.

THE VOICE, (from left): Dolly Parton, host Carson Daly, ‘Live Semi-Final Results’, (Season 9, ep. 917B/925, aired Dec. 8, 2015). ph: Tyler Golden / ©NBC / courtesy Everett Collection

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