Longtime KFC employee honored ahead of retirement

Published: May. 7, 2023 at 11:37 AM CDT|Updated: May. 7, 2023 at 8:11 PM CDT
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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - A fast-food chain is West Memphis is giving one long-time employee Loretta Neely her flowers, before she retires.

Neely has been on the job nearly 47 years, and her hard work is being recognized.

“It makes you feel good when other folks appreciate you,” Loretta Neely said.

For more than 40 years, so many people have come to appreciate and love Loretta Neely. She’s been an employee at the West Memphis location for decades, working in all types of positions, and even becoming a manager.

“I started off chopping cotton and I prayed and asked the Lord to give me a job,” Neely said. “I promised him I was going stay at it, so I got a blessing … two blessings, I got this job, I got married the same year.”

Neely tells Action News 5, she’s seen a lot of change over the years, but her passion for serving others is what’s kept her on the job so long.

“My people coming in,” she said. “I like working with people ... I like developing people, making sure that they be successful, along with me being successful.”

When her managers and corporate learned of Neely’s plans for retirement, they wasted no time honoring her. Corporate leaders say Neely is passionate, with a strong work ethic and someone who never complains.

“I feel like I was a true blessing to them, it touches my heart,” Neely said.

Whether she’s taking orders, cooking in the kitchen, or guiding new employees, Neely says it’s all about taking pride in your work. Neely says she’s in no rush to leave her work family, but she is eager for what’s to come in retirement.

“Traveling, spending time with my grandkids and time with my church family and my husband,” she said.

KFC created the Loretta Neely Drive and Passion Award, the company is calling it a Living Legend Award, in Neely’s honor.

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