After consulting with God, this woman’s decision to keep a promise has afforded her a rewarding career.

According to Commercial Appeal, Loretta Neely prayed that she would land a job at the age of 19. Not only did she land a gig, but she’s left an imprint in the position for nearly 50 years.

How It All Started

“I prayed and asked the Lord, I said, ‘If you give me a job, I promise you I’ll stay on it, I won’t leave it,’” Neely recalled. 

In 1976, she received a call back from a local Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) located in Memphis, AR. Since then, Neely quickly worked her way up from cook to cashier to general manager, a position that she has maintained ever since. 

Working Her Way Up The Ladder

Neely’s first position included tasks like chopping and frying chicken. A week later, she was moved up to operate the cash register. In just six months’ time, her manager at the time promoted her to assistant manager. From then, she soon became a general manager.

“That’s how I got started with KFC,” said Neely. “After the Lord blessed me with that, I didn’t leave it.”

Being Rewarded For Her Efforts

What’s more, the fast-food chain officially presented Neely with the Living Legend Award. The accolade was even created to award her for 47 years of service to the establishment.

“I felt so honored to be called the living legend,” said the West Memphis native. “I didn’t realize they all thought this much about me, it just filled my heart to be honored with such a reward.”


Her tenure with KFC includes opening up three stores throughout the city of Memphis. However, she has since returned to where it all started at the West Memphis location. With all of these accomplishments under her belt, Neely admits that she has been considering retirement.

What's Next For Neely

“I have been thinking of retiring,” she said. “I’m having a little health issues so I may not be able to give 101 percent like I’ve been doing.”

Until that time comes, though, Neely says she wakes up with the same optimism she did back in the late ‘70s when the KFC journey first began.

“It’s been a joy,” she said. “When I wake up, my mind is just on my job. I want to get the job done and make sure it’s done right.”

It looks like, thus far, it has been a job well done!