On March 12 the McDonald’s location on Reservoir Avenue in Cranston celebrated its grand reopening, surrounded by many community members.
Owners Steve and Lynne Walach, their sons Brian and Chris, daughter in-law Emmi and grandson Mason, were joined by Mayor Allan Fung and his Chief of Staff Carlos Lopez, RI Representative Bob Jacquard, Cranston’s Director of Economic Development Lawrence DiBoni and his aide Marcia Lopresti, McDonald’s US Government Relations Regional Lead Rachel Kaprielian, and Allyson Peck, Boston Region, Vice President Operations for McDonald’s.
Additionally, Ron and Rosemary Gill were on hand representing the PS3 Ronald A. Gill Jr. Memorial Scholarship Foundation, as the Walach family was making a $1,000 donation to the Gill Foundation at the grand reopening event.
“More than ten years ago we got to know the Gill Family as our customers and we were introduced to their foundation,” Steve Walach said. “Now they’re good friends, and we look forward to playing in their golf tournament each year. They do a fantastic job for the kids in Cranston.”
As Steve and his sons led the group on a tour of the updated facility, they were pleased to point out several enhancements which had been made in order to make the McDonald’s experience a better one for their customers.
“The space is more open, we have more outlets for electronics and we have many ordering options for our customers in this digital world,” Steve Walach explained. “Customers can order on their phones, at a kiosk, at the drive-through, or in the traditional face-to-face manner at the counters. We also offer a local delivery service and table service.”
He also noted that through their Archways for Opportunity program, the crew members at McDonalds have the option to receive up to $3,000 a year, depending on their position in the company, to expand their education, receive educational guidance, get a high school diploma or improve their English Language skills through their ESL program. A national scholarship program also exists for McDonald’s employees, and the Walach family was pleased to note that three of the last four years’ winners were Cranston employees.
Jacquard noted that his first job was at McDonalds and noted having a supportive team in a family atmosphere, during which he made many memories. Walach agreed that such an atmosphere still exists for his employees as well.
As the group prepared to cut the ribbon, Mayor Allan Fung thanked the Walach family and their crew for being a fixture in the Cranston community over the years, and for their contribution to the Gill Foundation.
“It’s a pleasure to be here today and to show what’s being done here both on the customer side, and on the employee side,” Fung said.
The Gill family was grateful to the Walach family for their generous $1,000 donation to the Gill Foundation, which provides scholarships for students pursuing a college education. The foundation was established in their son’s memory after his tragic death during a Coast Guard training mission. To date, the foundation has given out $250,000 in college scholarships in the past ten years and is on track to top $300,000 this year. “We have known the Walach family for many years,” said Ron. “We started out just coming in and asking for a gift certificate for one of our events. Our relationship grew and grew, and they’ve supported us over the years with raffle and auction items, and they play in our golf tournament every year. They’ve been very, very supportive.”
Gill said he was surprised to discover that such a generous donation was going to be made on Thursday.
“We were very surprised by this, it was not expected,” Ron said. “They could have chosen anybody and they chose us, and for that I am grateful. Our roots are based in Cranston and we’re very thankful.”