Sandlin receives 2023 Beacon of Hope Award

Published 9:00 am Sunday, March 10, 2024

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American Dairy Queen Corporation announced Feb. 28 that the recipient of the Beacon of Hope Award for 2023 was Mitch Sandlin, franchisee owner in the mid Atlantic region, which includes Western Tidewater.

Sandlin is owner and CEO of Franklin-based Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen LLC, which has 15 restaurant locations, including those in Franklin, Courtland and Windsor.

An ADQ news release stated that for decades, Sandlin has made supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals a focus at all his restaurants. Since 2008, he has led his crew to raise millions of dollars for his local member hospital and has also personally provided significant financial support.  

“The Beacon of Hope Award is presented to someone who embodies determination, compassion, courage and selflessness in support of children who are receiving family centered comprehensive care at local members of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals throughout the U.S.,” said Maria Hokanson, executive vice president of marketing at ADQ. “Mitch has always gone the extra mile in supporting his local community and is an exceptional recipient of this award.”  

In 2019, Sandlin received the annual ADQ Miracle Maker Award for fundraising year-round through Round Up For Kids, Miracle Treat Day, Dip It For Kids and Miracle Balloons. Beyond Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Sandlin has worked locally with other hospital partners, like Wal-Mart and Anthem Health Care, to raise money and awareness. He also supports additional community partners and initiatives, including the local Boys and Girls Club, cancer research organizations, two local theater groups, a community wish fund and a community Christmas parade.  

“I became a franchisee because I knew Dairy Queen was a place that was committed to the community,” Sandlin said. “I’m honored to be able to give back to these incredible organizations and the communities they serve, and I hope that it inspires others to do the same.”

The Beacon of Hope Award is presented every other year at the biennial Franchisee Conference to a DQ franchisee, crew member or franchisee support center staff member who exemplifies spirit and compassion. 

Officials in the release noted that Sandlin’s commitment to the health and wellness of his local community over the years demonstrates his deservingness of the honor. 

The DQ brand has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals for 40 years, and the DQ system across the U.S. has donated more than $180 million to member children’s hospitals to date. All contributions stay local to support children in each community.