Our Veterans, Their Stories

We recognize the commitment of veterans and current military personnel, and these stories highlight the connections between the SUBWAY® family and communities that we serve. We also believe in opportunity – many veterans have turned to SUBWAY® as a post-military career choice, and they’ve used their leadership skills to build their business, and help their teams grow. Here are some of their stories.
 

Michael McNeil

SUBWAY franchisee, Michael McNeil of Irmo, South Carolina is a veteran of the US Air Force. He served as a an Aircraft Avionics System technician, Instructor Supervisor, First Sergeant, Section Chief and Command Superintendent spanning from 1984 to 2007. He now owns seven restaurants in South Carolina.

“Subway always focuses on health and the well-being of others, which has always been my focus on life. I’ve always loved the product and I was very impressed with the leadership and vision of Subway.

I used to operate under a tremendous amount of pressure, so I know and understand how to build a strong team to accomplish the mission. My time in service has helped in owning a business due to developing people to maximize their potential, following guidelines, respect for authority, leadership, and team work.

I’ve already convinced three other military veterans to become Subway franchisees. Most veterans are accustomed to following guidelines, inspections, training, and supporting their community. Subway is the perfect fit for a veteran.”


Walmart Greeter Joins Local SUBWAY® Family

For a longtime SUBWAY® employee and an 87-year-old veteran in Watertown, Wisconsin, a bond that started eight years ago has grown. Melvin Klug, a Korean War veteran, was hired as a greeter in the Watertown Walmart, where Misty Drebenstedt works in a SUBWAY® restaurant. The two struck up a friendship, and soon Melvin became an extended part of Misty's SUBWAY® family. The two started spending the holidays together, and franchisees Randy and Kathy Van Duser invited Melvin to attend employee Holiday parties.
When Misty heard of Stars and Stripes Honor Flights, an organization that provides paid trips to Washington DC for WWII and Korean War veterans to see their memorials, she mentioned to Melvin that he should go. Melvin, who was a Marine Corps Sergeant in Korea, agreed to go, but only if Misty accompanied him as his "guardian," someone under 65 who pays $500 for the privilege of escorting them for the day. Franchisees Randy and Kathy encouraged Melvin to complete the form and generously covered Misty's fee. They took to the air on Nov. 7 and enjoyed a memorable day touring DC's memorials. Pictured above (left-right) are Melvin, Milwaukee Brewers Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Misty, enjoying a day at the memorials.

Monica Friesner

Local territory Director of Operations, Monica Friesner of Palmyra, New York is a US Navy veteran. She served as an Air Traffic Controller from 1990 to 1995 at Moffett Field, CA and also Atsugi Japan. She now manages several territories in numerous New York locations.

My plan after I got out of the Military was to become a Police Officer, however that plan changed after I had my 2nd child. I moved back to my home town of Rochester, NY in 2001 and managed my father’s fine dining restaurant for three years. As my children got older, I needed a job with day-time hours. I saw a listing for a Field Consultant in the local Subway office and applied. That is how I started at Subway three and a half years ago. I was promoted to Director of Operations in December of last year, overseeing a large group of restaurants and their efficiencies.

My military experience has helped me as Director of Ops to always be prepared, and to think ahead. I would recommend Subway to veterans who are looking for a company to grow with. There are many levels to Subway just like in the Military; you can move up from Sandwich Artist to Manager, General Manager or even look to buy your own franchise. The possibilities are endless.

 

James Hampton

SUBWAY franchisee, James Hampton of Tampa, Florida is a veteran of the US Navy. He proudly served his country as a Nuclear Petty Officer and plank owner for the USS Theodore Roosevelt CVN 71. He now owns four restaurants in Florida.

“While awaiting discharge, I helped run Special Services on the Navy's largest naval base in Norfolk, Virginia. The training I received was the best in the world. It taught me attention to detail, verbatim repetition and the ability to manage a large work force for multiple fast food, entertainment facilities and marine support. The Navy taught me most of my management skills.

Subway is a great business for Veterans because it gives you the opportunity to utilize all your training and skills in an environment to be profitable and successful. We currently own four restaurants and my entire family has been involved in the business with me. It has paid for my 3 kids to go to college and is what I consider, a life in paradise.”


Showing Gratitude for WWII Veteran Mr. Gilbert

In Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 93-year-old WWII veteran called Mr. Gilbert has frequented the same SUBWAY® restaurant on Woodward Ave. each day for a turkey sandwich and drink – for over two years. One day during his routine visit, a woman ahead of him in line noticed that he was a veteran and asked to buy his lunch. Since that day, the simple act of kindness has gone viral on social media, and hundreds of others have continued to show their love and gratitude for Mr. Gilbert in the form of free SUBWAY® sandwiches. There's even a Facebook page for the cause, titled "Buy Mr. Gilbert's Lunch."

Mr. Gilbert is grateful for the show of support and enjoys talking with other customers at the restaurant. "There's a lot of good people in the world still," he said. Those who stop in to cover Mr. Gilbert's tab receive a free 6in sub for themselves, and anyone who takes to time to sit and listen to his stories will be rewarded with an unforgettable lunch break.

To learn more about Mr. Gilbert, watch here.


Randy Burke

SUBWAY franchisee and Field Consultant, Randy Burke of Tampa, Florida is a US Air Force Veteran who served doing Medical Logistics for seven years in Germany, Washington DC and Turkey. Randy now owns one Subway restaurant in Florida.

“I have never forgotten the values that were instilled in me when I was in the military. ‘Service before self’. This holds true to this day with the brand. If I am successful, the brand is successful.”

To fellow veterans, Randy advises, “Do not think twice about it. You will not find a better run franchise concept than this one.”

 

John Pringle

SUBWAY® franchisee, John Pringle of Charleston, South Carolina is a US Army Force Veteran who served as an Air Traffic Control Radar Technician from 1994 to 2002. John now owns three SUBWAY® restaurants in South Carolina.

“My then girlfriend (and now wife) and I ate Subway in college all the time. We went to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I was a business major. I had an assignment in my entrepreneur class to write a business plan about a business I would like to open. I chose Subway and got an 'A'. I realized how “easy” it was to run a restaurant and was hooked!

My Air Force training involved, in my opinion, a lot of discipline. I guess I needed it. Actually, I'm very thankful for it. Subway's well-structured organization is what attracted me. With my eight years serving, I became accustomed to structure. When I was finally discharged, I craved it. Subway was my answer.

My long term goals include building my business in each individual restaurant with catering and providing prompt, exceptional customer service and building my organization by purchasing more locations.

To recommend the Subway system to a fellow Veteran, John has but one thing to say: “Best decision this Airman ever made!”


SUBWAY® Oklahoma Teams up with Soldier’s Wish

To help a veteran wounded in combat, local Oklahoma restaurants partnered with Soldier’s Wish to get the help he and his family needed.

To see his story, watch here.

You can learn more about how Subway Oklahoma is partnering with Soldier’s Wishhere.


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