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.”