In the midst of uncertain times, Chick-fil-A owners show hope for future of ‘Awesome sauce’ employees

Zakary Baker, 2020 Chick-fil-A "Remarkable Futures" scholarship award recipient, with franchise owner Deven Macdonald, St. George, Utah, March 26, 2020 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Fifty years ago, when Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy first set a jar on the counter of his restaurant to help his team member Eddie White achieve his dream of attending college, it would have been impossible to imagine how many lives he would change.

The 2020 Chick-fil-A “Remarkable Futures” scholarship award recipients with local franchise owner Deven Macdonald at ceremony held in their honor, St. George, Utah, March 26, 2020 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Since that fateful moment in 1973, the restaurant chain known for its chicken sandwiches, waffle fries and kind employees, has helped over 59,000 team members have hope for the future, investing $92 million in scholarships toward their education.

In 2020, Chick-fil-A awarded Leadership Scholarships worth $2,500 to 6,688 team members across the nation. Continuing a tradition for the fourth year – while doing their best to observe all protocols for social distancing – a small ceremony was held in St. George Thursday in their honor, with 99.9 KONY Country morning show host Amy Chesley there to help celebrate.

Local franchise owner Deven Macdonald told St. George News that stressing the importance of education has always been a high-priority at his location. In most franchises, usually only about six to eight employees are awarded the scholarship each year, but he was extremely proud to learn that 18 of the 24 that applied from his store had qualified.

After writing 3,000 word recommendations for all of them, Macdonald knew each one had earned the recognition. He said he was thrilled to be able to award $45,000 to his employees this year.

“They deserve it,” Macdonald said.

The “Remarkable Futures” education initiative recognizes the hard work and dedication of team members, and their commitment to providing excellent customer service. The $2,500 they received can be used for any school of their choosing. For students that have their tuition already taken care of, the money can be refunded back and used for things like room, board, books or other living expenses.

Zoee Bills, 2020 Chick-fil-A “Remarkable Futures” scholarship award recipient, with franchise owner Deven Macdonald, St. George, Utah, March 26, 2020 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

He said this year’s recipients – Zakary Baker, Derek Bankhead, Zoee Bills, Tavin Borrowman, Brett Burbank, Toriana Crowton, Allison Furse, Dallen Gillespie, Karissa Gillespie, Anna Green, McKenzie Hallam, Danielle Hess, Kelsey Ranson, Teresita Rodriguez, Cash Schmutz, and Steven Swinson – all submitted fantastic applications and can continue to apply for a total of four years.

As identified on the red “Awesome sauce” scholarship envelopes, these recipients have leadership scholar “ingredients” that include confidence, reliability, teamwork, honesty, positivity, creativity, kindness, intelligence, enthusiasm, passion, resourcefulness and overall awesomeness.

While a few of his team members were stuck in isolation and couldn’t be there in person, Macdonald was smiling ear-to-ear as he handed the awards to the ones that were able to attend.

“It’s a great program,” he said.

Anyone interested in finding employment and learning how Chick-fil-A can help them build a better future can contact Macdonald at (435) 656-4655 or visit the website.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!