An Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who returned from combat a double amputee became the owner/operator of a Little Caesars Pizza franchise last month in Paducah, Ky.
For Paducah native Robbie Doughty, joining the Army was a boyhood dream that became “a calling.” He served as a career soldier and pushed to get assigned to Iraq after 9-11; two months after arriving in the combat zone he returned home wounded.
He never lost his gung ho spirit and completed rehab in record time. He went home to Kentucky on artificial legs after only five months training on his new prosthetics.
Last year, he received a call from Little Caesars Pizza founder Mike Ilitch. The Marine Corps veteran had read about Doughty’s injury and remarkable come-back spirit and “wanted to do something” for him.
That “something” was to give Doughty a Little Caesars Pizza franchise in his hometown free and clear – building, equipment, even a special chair for Doughty behind the counter.
Ilitch, family members and community leaders gathered at a formal presentation ceremony in January.
One more person was on hand, Doughty’s Army Special Forces boss, Lloyd Allard, the man he trusted his life to in Iraq and who now joins him as business partner in the new franchise.
Ilitch hasn’t stopped helping disabled vets. He created the Little Caesars Veterans Program, which provides franchise business opportunities to qualified, honorably discharged veterans transitioning to civilian life or seeking a career change.
The program, coordinated with the VA Veterans Enterprise Center, offers disabled veterans who qualify deep discounts on Little Caesars franchise costs and free start up support including favorable financing, opening support and reduced fees – a package worth up to $68,000.
(STEVE VANTREESE/Special to the Free Press)
Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, left, meets with Robbie Doughty, center, and Lloyd Allard in Paducah, Ky., last year. Ilitch gave them a Little Caesars franchise after reading about Doughty losing his legs in Iraq.