Marietta McDonald’s owner receives award

MARIETTA — The Pittsburgh region of McDonald’s restaurants recently presented the annual Ronald Award to Marietta McDonald’s owner-operator Laurie Strahler.

The award is annually presented to a McDonald’s owner-operator who supports their community.

Strahler owns and operates four restaurants in Marietta. She was selected for the award among 95 McDonald’s Owner-Operators in the Pittsburgh region, which covers portions of Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

“Giving back is something that I want to do for the community that does so much for me and my business,” Strahler said. “Marietta is my home and supporting the community is like supporting my neighbors.”

Over the years, Strahler has contributed to the community in a number of ways. She was selected by the mayor and city council to serve on the Board of Health for the city, in addition to being a Partner in Education with Washington Elementary School.

Other programs supported by her organization include: McTeacher’s Night Fundraisers, free bicycle helmets and fittings for kids, speaking appearances at schools and with community groups regarding employment opportunities at McDonald’s and children’s athletic programs sponsor

Strahler, when she rebuilt the Glendale Avenue McDonald’s in 2012, offered her employees the option to work for a local non-profit during the three-month construction period. She thought they would enjoy learning new skills and more about community involvement.

Several employees took her up on the offer to be paid to volunteer and worked at organizations including the Boys and Girls Club and Marietta Main Street.

In recent years, she’s taken on larger community outreach efforts by creating and organizing two local events, the Marietta McDonald’s Half-Marathon and “Dancing with the Docs.”

In 2016, “Dancing with the Docs” raised over $49,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern West Virginia, which was being constructed just steps away from Charleston Area Medical Center’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Two guest rooms at the house have been named in Strahler’s honor.

In 2017, the fundraiser benefited the Strecker Cancer Center at Marietta Memorial Hospital and raised $62,105.

The Marietta McDonald’s Half Marathon has chosen local community centers as its fundraising partners in its first two years of existence. Created in part with ZK Fitness, owned by Strahler’s office manager Brian Anderson, the 2016 half marathon focused on efforts to rebuild Washington Neighborhood Park. Over 400 people registered to participate, and the route took runners through downtown Marietta. This year’s half marathon benefited the Marietta Aquatic Center.

In addition to her commitment to the community, Strahler has also led an annual scholarship program for crew members employed by McDonald’s of the Tri-State’s 93 restaurants in central West Virginia, southeastern Ohio and eastern Kentucky.