Hormel Foods, a Fortune 500 global branded food company, announces the recipients of this year's two $10,000 Hormel Heroes Scholarships. The Hormel Heroes Scholarship Program was created by Hormel Foods to support students with military backgrounds pursuing degrees in culinary arts or a foodservice management program. It is administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).

"At Hormel Foods, we believe in accessible education and are honored to support our military members in their career aspirations as a thank you for their service," said Mark Ourada, group vice president of Foodservice at Hormel Foods. "These scholarships are a small way to show our appreciation for students who serve or have served our country and are pursuing careers in the foodservice industry. It's our pleasure to congratulate this year's scholarship recipients, Kristal Qualls and Rose Picard. Thank you for your dedicated service, and best of luck in all your future endeavors."

Qualls is an active member of the U.S. Army for the last two years. She is in her second year of her bachelor's program at Vincennes University, majoring in culinary arts with a concentration in baking and pastry arts. Her goal is to make a positive impact on those who have the passion and drive to learn about the culinary industry through accessibility and equitable programs. Qualls hopes to one day open a restaurant with a bakery included.

"The positive impact I would like to make in the industry is to help others who are less fortunate. I want to give people a chance, not based on how they look or where they have worked, but by their drive, their passion and how willing they are to learn things," Qualls said. "I believe that some people are overlooked because they may not have as much job experience as the next person, but they have the drive, and sometimes they end up being better than the person who has the experience. I also want to incorporate a work-study program for college and/or high school students to help them earn college credits and have a steady income, which will help alleviate the stress of money and will reduce their length of time in college. This will also help with tuition costs."

Picard is a military veteran who served as a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard. She is currently in her final year of her bachelor's program at The Culinary Institute of America, majoring in applied food studies with a concentration in baking and pastry. She is working toward her goal of being a baking instructor at the university level. Picard is a second-time Hormel Heroes scholarship recipient.

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"I am striving to get hired in an instructor position at a college or university, so I can teach the upcoming culinarians the art of baking and pastry. I have had the opportunity in the Army to instruct the young soldiers coming up as 92Gs (foodservice specialists)," Picard said. "I fell in love with teaching when I was an advanced culinary instructor at the installation in Fort Lee, Va. This degree will be the ultimate reflection of my life's work. I am humbled as I reflect on my life and see myself accepted to The Culinary Institute of America."

Recipients of Hormel Heroes Scholarships are traditionally announced on or around America's Veterans Day to bring added focus to the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. Hormel Foods has a long-standing tradition of championing veterans and supporting active-duty military members that dates back to its early years and company founder George A. Hormel. 

"The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is proud to support the culinary aspirations of heroes like Kristal and Rose as they transition to civilian careers. We are incredibly grateful for partners like Hormel Foods, who share our dedication to providing America's veterans with resources to secure the necessary training and education to build a career in our industry," said Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF. "This Veterans Day, we join Hormel Foods in saluting our heroes and thanking them for their service to our country."