January 12, 2012 // Franchising.com // LOUISVILLE, KY – To kick off a year of bringing people together, today Kentucky Fried Chicken gave one military family an emotional and unexpected reunion, showing that home truly is where the heart is. The 17-year-old twin daughters of Capt. Cherissa Jackson arrived at a Baltimore-area restaurant expecting to help KFC employees assemble gift packages, only to receive a surprise when Jackson herself walked out of the kitchen. Jackson, an Air Force critical care nurse, was deployed to Afghanistan last June.
"At KFC, we're grateful to our servicemen and women and their families for the sacrifices they make for our country every day," said John Cywinski, President of KFC. "It's truly an honor to help bring this wonderful family together again after being apart for so long. We're looking forward to bringing more families together throughout 2012."
To top it off, KFC gave the family another surprise. Jackson's daughters, who are high school seniors and excellent students, were both awarded $20,000 college scholarships from KFC. The scholarship donation from KFC was especially meaningful for Jackson, a single mom who noted that one reason she joined the military more than 20 years ago was so her parents wouldn't have to pay for her college education.
"When I entered the military, my parents had paid for three of my sisters to go to college," she said. "I saw their struggle and didn't want for them to do that for me when there were other avenues to get my education." While Jackson knew she would be surprising her two daughters, she wasn't aware that other members of her family, including her parents and sisters, would also be on hand for the reunion, flying from South Carolina and Florida to take part in her homecoming.
"My girls are my rock. It's never easy being away from family, and the recent holiday season made it even harder," says Jackson, "I simply couldn't wait to see my daughters and give them the biggest hug. It feels so good to be back together again. Seeing my parents and sister made the homecoming even sweeter."
KFC's Colonel Harland Sanders debuted his secret Original Recipe® of 11 herbs and spices more than 70 years ago, creating a legendary combination that has since become a favorite of chicken-lovers everywhere. The Colonel was much more than a talented cook though. In addition to developing one of the most famous recipes in the world, he was also passionate about families, kids and education. Over the years, the Colonel and KFC Corporation have donated millions of dollars to programs supporting families, children and education. Throughout 2012, the chain plans to highlight how it continues to bring families and friends together around the Colonel's timeless recipe.
For more information, visit www.kfc.com.
KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain specializing in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy™, Kentucky Grilled Chicken® and Crispy Strips with home-style sides, Hot Wings, and freshly made chicken sandwiches including the Double Down® and the Doublicious®. There are more than 15,000 KFC outlets in 109 countries and territories around the world serving some 12 million customers each day. KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE: YUM.) For more information, visit www.kfc.com. Follow KFC on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KFC) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/kfc_colonel).
The Kentucky Fried Chicken concept was pioneered by Colonel Harland Sanders (1890-1980), whose cooking career began at age six. Sanders held jobs ranging from streetcar conductor to insurance salesman, but his cooking skills were a constant throughout his life. In 1930, Sanders operated a service station in Corbin, Ky., and filled the stomachs of hungry travelers who stopped in to fill up their gas tanks. Sanders soon moved his restaurant across the street when he could no longer keep up with the demand from travelers who he had been feeding at his kitchen table. In 1935, the Kentucky Governor made Sanders an honorary Kentucky Colonel for his contributions to the state's cuisine. Over the next decade, the Colonel perfected his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices and the basic cooking technique still used at KFC today. When Sanders was 65, a new interstate highway forced the closure of his restaurant and he was left with only his recipe for fried chicken and a $105 Social Security check. The Colonel hit the road and struck handshake deals with restaurant owners who agreed to sell his fried chicken. What began as a dream fueled by the Original Recipe, a no-quit attitude and a Social Security check grew into the world's largest chicken restaurant chain. Until he passed away in 1980 at the age of 90, the Colonel still traveled 250,000 miles a year visiting KFC restaurants around the world.