ILLINOIS (WEHT) – According to a Facebook post, two people from Southern Illinois won an award for the community contribution of their McDonald’s locations.

McDonald’s officials say the Nashville Field Office recognized John and Mary Moreland with the Ronald Award. Officials say the prestigious Ronald Award recognizes the top 1% of McDonald’s owner/operators nationwide who have made exceptional contributions to McDonald’s, their local community and their guests.

Officials note this is the second time the two have won this award, and the last time they won the award was in 1984.

A press release says the Morelands have served the McDonald’s community for more than 56 years. John Moreland is an Air Force Veteran who served from 1963-1967.  While in the Air Force in Austin, Texas, he worked his first shift under the Golden Arches in 1966 at one of just two McDonald’s locations in all of Texas at the time.

Officials say with experience in nearly every facet of the business, John Moreland was officially approved as an Owner/Operator, and in 1980, he and his wife and fellow Owner/Operator, Mary, landed in Southern Illinois where they built their first McDonald’s restaurant in West Frankfort. In 1981, the pair received the Ronald Award for the first time and Mary gained her approval as an official McDonald’s operator in 1995.

The press release says Mary Moreland has been a community activist for years, including serving on the West Frankfort school board for 20 years and coaching golf there for 21 years. She was inducted into the Frankfort Community High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017 and has served as a trustee on the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation board.

Officials say in addition to a growing business, John and Mary Moreland had a growing family. Daughter, Stephanie and son, Michael grew up with their parents as role models both at home and at the restaurant. After exploring their own paths through college and careers, both children returned to the family business and completed the rigorous “Next Generation” program for children of current Owner/Operators. Together, the family runs 21 McDonald’s restaurants across Southern Illinois.