Tara Vreeland, News On 6

OWASSO, Oklahoma -- Employees of an Owasso McDonald's are getting a unique opportunity this summer. The restaurant, located off of West 76th and North Owasso Expressway, was bulldozed this week to make way for a new store.

Instead of leaving employees jobless, owners Tim and Patty Rich sent them in the community to volunteer and are still signing their paychecks.

Nancy Vu has worked at McDonald's for two and half years.

"It's really different from what I usually do on a daily basis," the 18-year-old said. "But I feel I've learned a lot just these past couple of days."

She's traded the drive thru for cards and helping in the senior exercise class at the community center.

"They are just really cute I like to listen to their stories when the just need someone to talk to," Vue said.

She thought she would have to get a second job until the new restaurant was built, until owners Tim and Patty Rich told her about the chance to volunteer.

Rich said they didn't want to lose any of their employees after the remodel began. Some they've had for 15 years.

"It's important that you teach by example," Patty Rich said. "Some of our employees may never have the opportunity or realize what volunteering could add to their lives."

"I think that this will give us more opportunities to see what's around our community besides just working at McDonald's," Vue said.

Rich said that the employees get a chance to keep their positions, give back to the community, all while receiving their normal salary.

"My husband and I decided a year ago to start putting money away. We have saved enough money to pay the volunteers while they are volunteering," she said.

It's a win-win for everyone.

"My hope really is that you give someone an opportunity and they realize that that opportunity is worth much more than a dollar," Rich said.

Rich says about a third of their employees have taken advantage of the volunteer opportunities.

The employees are volunteering with organizations in Owasso, The Community Center, the Resource Center, Baptist Retirement Center and the Pregnancy Resource Center.

The new restaurant is expected to be complete by mid-October.