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Taylorsville Journal

Chick-fil-A honored with rare police citation

Oct 30, 2019 04:02PM ● By Carl Fauver

Unified Police Precinct Chief Tracy Wyant, UPD Detective Scott Lloyd, Chick-fil-A Community Relations Director Jeanaea Lorton and Mayor Kristie Overson (L-R) gather before the Taylorsville City Council, as the local fast food franchise is honored for its community service. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

 By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

“Since they arrived in Taylorsville, they have been a phenomenal corporate sponsor — the gold standard for their level of support.”

That’s how Unified Police Department Taylorsville Precinct Chief Tracy Wyant summed up his feelings about the owners and employees of the Chick-fil-A restaurant at 5580 South Redwood Road. The eatery was honored by UPD at a recent city council meeting.

Police Det. Scott Lloyd echoed his chief’s sentiments as he presented a commemorative plaque to the fast food franchise’s Community Relations Director Jeanaea Lorton.

“When I told Jeanaea I needed her to show up (at the Taylorsville City Council meeting) tonight, the first thing she said was ‘Great, how many meals should I bring?’” Lloyd told the audience. “They are an amazing company, always reaching out to assist our department and other service organizations.”

The Taylorsville resident and mother of six says, Chick-fil-A’s dedication to community service is her primary motivation.

“Honestly, that’s the only reason I am willing to leave my house — to be involved in supporting the community,” Lorton said. “Having been a PTA mom — working with those teachers — I know how hard they work, and I love supporting them.” 

However, Lorton is also quick to deflect praise.

“Before I agreed to show up to the meeting, I had to make sure my name was not on the plaque,” she added. “I get way too much credit for what our entire store and all of our employees do.”

Lloyd is particularly appreciative of the support Chick-fil-A provides to his department’s anti-drug, anti-bullying educational program, offered at area elementary schools.

“I have nine schools where I talk to fifth graders about several different subjects,” he said. “Chick-fil-A always provides incentives to give the kids, like cards for free sandwiches or ice cream cones. It’s amazing how much better they pay attention, when a prize can be earned.”

The nearly always bustling Taylorsville Chick-fil-A opened in October 2014. A previous owner hired Lorton to be the face of the franchise three months later. When that owner moved to another franchise, new owner Matt Griffith came on board, in May 2017.

“It’s a dream job for a mom,” Lorton said. “I just come and go. When there’s a need, I jump in. I do a lot of work over the phone. Matt has made it clear, I get to be a mom first. I average about 20 hours per week.”

Each year, the restaurant also provides about 40 meals for police, fire and emergency response personnel when they host the annual “Night Out Against Crime,” outside Taylorsville City Hall.

Chick-fil-A is also known for its generosity in hosting frequent fundraising evenings. Typically, the restaurant will donate 20% of its gross revenues, from 5 to 8 p.m., to fund a needy cause. Lorton said sometimes the franchise with join with another Chick-fil-A — or several of them — as the need warrants.

“Last March, we joined with the Sugarhouse Chick-fil-A to raise money for the family of David Romrell, a South Salt Lake Police officer killed in the line of duty,” she said. “Between the two restaurants, we raised $1,500 to $2,000 for them.”

Authorities claim Romrell, a Taylorsville resident, was intentionally hit and killed by a car by suspects fleeing an apparent burglary. The incident occurred over Thanksgiving weekend last year. The officer left behind a wife, Liz, and 4-month-old son. The combined Chick-fil-A fundraiser, held last March, helped provide funding for members of the Romrell family to attend a fallen officer memorial ceremony in Washington, D.C., during National Police Week last May.

 “We average about two fundraiser evenings per month, and we also take meals out into the community—many to schools—about once a week,” Lorton said. “Sometimes, owners of most or all the Chick-fil-A restaurants in the Salt Lake Valley do combined fundraisers. We’ve done that for Primary Children’s Hospital and for a Utah Jazz scholarship program.” 

Lorton isn’t sure of the financial value of all the free meals her employer provides. But she’s the first to admit that she burns through gift cards.

“I just ordered 10,000 cards for free sandwiches,” she said. “I probably give out a thousand to two thousand free sandwich cards each week. I get paid to make friends and help people. It’s a wonderful company, and I couldn’t be happier.”

“She is very shy but has a heart of gold,” Lloyd said. “She just wants to make sure our community strives to do better.” 

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