DUBLIN, Ohio, March 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Wendy's® is proud to support employees and their passions for community service. Today, District Manager James Behrens of Levittown, New York, was named the Community Ambassador of the Year. The distinction comes as part of Wendy's Community Ambassador Grant Program, which is an annual recognition program designed to honor employees who go above and beyond in their efforts to better their communities.
"We know that our people are our greatest asset," said Liliana Esposito, Chief Communications Officer. "We are proud to recognize our employees who are leading outstanding projects and actively working to help others in their communities."
Now in its sixth year, the Community Ambassador Grant Program selects ten exemplary employees from across the Wendy's family – from restaurant crew members to local and field employees and those who support the brand from the Restaurant Support Center – and awards $2,500 to the community organization that each employee supports. The Community Ambassador of the Year is selected from this group and wins an additional $10,000 for their organization.
This year, Wendy's was proud to honor many well-deserving community activists from around the company who were involved in a variety of national and local nonprofit or community-minded organizations:
- James Behrens supporting Levittown Fire Department, Levittown, New York (Community Ambassador of the Year) – James has been active in the Levittown Fire Department since he was 14-years-old. As an Ex-Captain and active member of the department, he educates and trains new volunteers and community members on fire and emergency safety, as well as continues to respond to emergency notices outside of office hours. James is a District Manager for Wendy's in the New York area.
- Shelly Thobe supporting Relay For Life - Olentangy, Columbus, Ohio – Shelly has a personal connection to Relay For Life. The organization helped her family learn how to care for her grandmother who was a cancer patient. Since then, Shelly became a fundraiser for the organization and continues to participate in walks. In 2014, she joined the leadership team. A year later she created her own relay team which raised more than $2,500 and was named Rookie Team of the Year. Shelly is the Director of Culinary and Product Innovation at Wendy's Restaurant Support Center.
- Betty Lawrence supporting Tabernacle of Praise, Cross Lanes, West Virginia – Betty and her husband founded Tabernacle of Praise in 1957 to lead service initiatives in their community. For the past four years, Tabernacle of Praise has hosted food giveaways that feed about 200 families. Additionally, the annual Easter egg fundraiser raises around $4,000 that goes to support the food giveaways. Betty is a Wendy's crew member working in Cross Lanes, West Virginia.
- Will Shepherd supporting Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio – When Will moved to the Columbus area in 2010, he started volunteering his time with the Columbus Metropolitan Library as a way to engage with his new community. Now, Will is the Vice President of the Library Board and chair of the Governance Committee where he helps manage the organization's ongoing strategy to support child reading programs in the area. Will is Wendy's Director of Enterprise Learning and Development.
- Randy Jennings supporting The Boy Scouts of America, Newport News, Virginia – Randy has been involved with The Boy Scouts of America for 43 years. He joined in his youth and earned an Eagle Scout distinction. He continues to play an active role in the organization as a scout leader, committee member and, most recently, as a district commissioner where he gives mentor training to scout leaders. He is a District Manager for Wendy's in the Portsmouth area.
- Christy Webster supporting Willow Ridge Therapeutic Riding Facility, Columbus, Ohio – Christy has found a way to give back to her community by combining two of her passions: animals and children. Christy volunteers weekly at Willow Ridge Therapeutic Riding Facility where she uses her knowledge of horses to teach riding and caregiving lessons to children with special needs. Christy works as a Facilities Manager for Wendy's.
- Ryan Royse supporting HHSCareerConnect, Colorado Springs, Colorado – Two years ago, Ryan co-founded an organization called HHSCareerConnect to reach current students of his alma mater, Harrison High School in Colorado Springs, and connect them with alumni who offer career council and advice. Ryan is a District Manager for the Denver area.
- Matthew Reis supporting Columbus Early Learning Center, Columbus, Ohio – Matthew has been working with the Columbus Early Learning Center since he was given the opportunity to sit on their board of directors as a graduate student at The Ohio State University. He has since grown his role as a leader in the organization and taken on responsibilities as Treasurer, in addition to being an active volunteer. He enjoys being around children and knows the importance early childhood education plays in a person's development. Matthew is a Senior Financial Analyst on Wendy's Marketing & Innovation Finance team.
- Ryan Schalles supporting Always Believe, Charlotte, North Carolina – Ryan found Always Believe through a fundraiser for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®. Always Believe is dedicated to creating a safe place where underserved children 12-to 18-years-old can learn and grow. Ryan has been active with the organization for three years now and helps plan fundraisers with local sports celebrities and assists with the annual Always Believe MVP Luncheon. Ryan is a Customer Experience Manager for Wendy's.
- Holly Hykes supporting Kinder Key of Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio – Holly is an active volunteer for Kinder Key, an entirely volunteer-driven organization by women who want to make a difference in the lives of heart patients who receive treatment at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. She was inspired by her children who have both been patients at the hospital. Holly joins Kinder Key's fundraising opportunities like the annual Denim and Diamonds gala and Caroling for a Cause, but is also the organization's Treasurer. Holly is the Manager of State Income Tax & Compliance at Wendy's Restaurant Support Center.
Since 2010, Wendy's Community Ambassador Grant Program has awarded more than $200,000 in grants to local charities supported by Wendy's employees.
About The Wendy's Company
The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ: WEN) is the world's third largest quick-service hamburger company. The Wendy's system includes more than 6,500 franchise and Company restaurants in the United States and 28 countries and U.S. territories worldwide. For more information, visit www.aboutwendys.com.
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SOURCE The Wendy's Company