PADUCAH, Ky. — A U.S. veteran who lost both legs in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in 2004 began a new career Feb. 1 by opening a Little Caesar's Pizza franchise.
According to a news release, Army Staff Sergeant Robbie Doughty, 32, was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in July 2004. When Little Caesars cofounder Michael Ilitch learned of Doughty's plight that same year, he offered the veteran a free franchise in Doughty's hometown of Paducah, Ky.
"Doughty stood strong for our country," said Ilitch, a former Marine. "I was so impressed by his courage, commitment and upbeat attitude in the face of adversity that I wanted to do something. Offering him a new career path in his hometown seemed like a good transition. Doughty's can-do attitude will make him a strong Little Caesars franchisee."
Doughty will run the unit alongside fellow veteran Lloyd Allard, who served in Iraq with him.
"After a career in the military, I was open to a new venture," said Doughty. "Our military background and familiarity with systems, processes and a teamwork management style make the Little Caesars franchise a good fit. Opening a business and becoming an entrepreneur will definitely be an exciting new chapter in my life for my family and me."
Illitch's gesture led Little Caesars to launch an innovative franchise program to provide qualified, honorably discharged veterans with a business opportunity when they transition to civilian life or seek a career change. (Read also Pizza franchisors seeking autoworkers, military veterans.) The program provides a benefit of $10,000 for qualified veterans, and up to $68,000 in benefits for service-disabled veterans.
"Doughty and Allard inspired me with a vision to develop a program to create career opportunities for military veterans," said Illitch, who was on hand for the grand opening in Paducah. "I believe that it's important for Little Caesars and corporate America to thank the men and women who have served in the armed forces, and this program offers an exceptional opportunity for veterans who are seeking new career options."