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Jenifer Sickles - Artist, Dave Thomas - Everyday Star (F-4)




Jenifer Sickles
Student Artist
North Side High School

Dave Thomas
Everyday Star

Adopted at six months of age, Dave Thomas never knew his birth mother. He moved to Fort Wayne with his foster family when he was a teenager, and dropped out of high school to work full time. When his foster father moved the family to another town, Dave decided to stay in Fort Wayne…the city he most considered home. This was a pivotal moment for Dave. He had found a place and people he loved and cared about…and they returned those feelings. Here, Dave began his restaurant career as a bus boy and dishwasher at the Hobby Ranch House KFC, working for Phil Clauss, the man who was most like a father to him.

But duty called, and after a stint in the service, he returned to Fort Wayne, his job with KFC, and the people he called his family. Passionate about the restaurant industry, Dave set a goal to make a million dollars selling hamburgers. This goal led Dave to create the internationally famous Wendy’s Restaurants (named after one of his own daughters). But Dave wanted to do more than sell food. In 1992 he founded the “Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption”. Being a foster child himself, he knew how important a family is and wanted to share his personal experience with others. This drove his desire to ensure that loving, supportive homes were available for any child who needed one. President George Bush named him a national spokesman on adoption, and together with his family, Dave created a strong support network for foster care and adoption services. His hope was that every child in North America would have a chance to have a permanent and loving family to call their own.

The silhouettes in this painting show a family welcoming another child into the fold, and a tree, just as a “family tree”, that grows stronger with every branch.