PHILADELPHIA, June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Will Armstead, regional general manager for ARAMARK Corrections in Florida, will be honored with a Gold Jefferson Award for Public Service, one of the nation's top honors for community service and volunteerism. Armstead will receive the award this week during the Jefferson Awards national ceremonies in Washington, D.C., which will recognize several Americans for their exemplary volunteer service.
"Every day ARAMARK employees devote their personal time and skills to enrich and nourish the lives of others, impacting millions of people," said Eric Foss, ARAMARK CEO and President. "Building local communities is part of our culture and values and a core focus for our business. I am extremely proud of Will, and the other employees that we are recognizing for their outstanding volunteer service."
The Jefferson Awards is part of ARAMARK's commitment to encouraging and celebrating volunteer service and providing meaningful opportunities for employees to contribute to their communities. Since 2008, more than 250 employees have been recognized for their passion for public service through the ARAMARK Outstanding Volunteer Awards. Armstead is one of 60 employees honored by ARAMARK this year as outstanding volunteers for their work and impact.
Armstead, of Stuart, Florida, was recognized for his commitment to multiple organizations that provide services and support to families, including Boys and Girls Clubs, The Alzheimers Community Care Board, and the PACE Center for Girls. Armstead also helps lead ARAMARK volunteer efforts in South Florida through ARAMARK Building Community (ABC), the company's philanthropic and volunteer program that enriches lives by improving family health and prepare youth and adults for the workforce in partnership with local community centers.
Armstead said his parents "preached about giving back to others," and encouraged him to volunteer in his Brooklyn neighborhood. He joined the Army when he graduated from high school, and benefitted from a number of mentors who also encouraged his volunteerism.
During his military career, which included two combat tours in Iraq, and in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, he often worked with children and families. Following his active service, he worked for a VA medical center before opening his own business, then joining ARAMARK Corrections in Kansas. He later took a position in Florida, and now manages food services for 13 correctional facilities in Florida.
As a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization for several years in Kansas, he knew that there were many others, beyond the child he was mentoring, who needed help.
"This child could have cousins, brothers, friends…I saw 15 or 20 more kids that needed attention," he recalled. His passion led him to be selected to serve on the organization's board, where he became aware of another mentoring program for troubled children. Soon he was serving on the board of the Alliance Against Family Violence.
When he and his family moved to Florida, and wanted to connect to people in the community, they started to volunteer. Armstead visited Boys and Girls Clubs frequently to gain a better understanding of what the children needed. He also became involved in The PACE Center for Girls, which helps girls ages 12 to 18 return to school. His volunteer work further extends to the needs of the elderly and he advocates for the elderly and their families through his work on the Alzheimers Community Care Board of Directors. He has also helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for non-profit organizations, and spent countless hours mentoring and tutoring children.
"As a company, ARAMARK is known for taking charge in building communities," he said. "We have some really, really dedicated people at ARAMARK who do a great job…it's awesome."
Armstead and his wife Rachel have seven children, and he said he is a high-energy person who can always find time to help others.
"There are 24 hours in a day. There's plenty of time to give back to your community," he said.
Co-founded in 1973 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr., and Sam Beard, the Jefferson Awards celebrate America's commitment to public service. The awards are given each year by the American Institute for Public Service, which recognizes American citizens devoted to community and volunteerism.
About ARAMARK Building Community
ARAMARK Building Community enriches lives by helping families improve their health, secure jobs and move out of poverty. In partnership with community centers around the world, employee volunteers lend their nutrition, culinary, job readiness and facilities management expertise to ensure people can succeed. ARAMARK provides a range of resources, and since 2008 has invested more than $7.5 million in volunteer expertise, cash and in-kind resources to strengthen the capacity of local community centers, involving 18,000 ARAMARK volunteers through over 500 volunteer activities. Nearly 3.5 million individuals and families served by community centers in nearly 52 cities have been aided by the program. Visit ARAMARK for more information. Please join us on Facebook.
ARAMARK delivers experiences that enrich and nourish people's lives through innovative food, facility, and uniform services. Our more than 250,000 employees around the world demonstrate our corporate responsibility values every day, and we are recognized among the Most Admired Companies by Fortune and World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute. Learn more at www.aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Director, CSR Communications