Convenience Store News has honored Pilot Travel Centers with its Spirit Award for Community Outreach, which recognizes convenience store companies that work to improve the communities they serve.

Pilot received the award for consistently acting for the benefit of the Knoxville, Tenn., area, where it's headquartered, as well as other communities through programs and grants.

"This award recognizes the many hours our employees spend giving back to their communities as well the professional drivers who donate through our Pilot's Truckers for Tots program," said Jimmy Haslam, president and CEO of Pilot Travel Centers.

"We were absolutely blown away by the quantity and quality of entries we received in this, our inaugural, Spirit Awards program," said Don Longo, editor-in-chief of Convenience Store News. "These winning retailers illustrate the many ways that convenience stores give back to the communities they serve."

At its Knoxville headquarters, Pilot employees log about 2,000 volunteer hours each year with programs such as Habitat for Humanity, Mobile Meals, Junior Achievement and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Pilot also sponsors over 140 organizations and fundraisers for youth, education, the arts, minorities, the homeless and the elderly in the communities they serve.

Pilot is also able to benefit the United Way of Greater Knoxville through its Pilot Celebrity Pumpers campaign, a three-day event during which Pilot donates five cents of every gallon of gasoline sold and 10 percent of all store sales to the United Way.

According to Convenience Store News, the award is meant to raise the visibility of the convenience store industry as a positive force in America and to encourage community involvement and reward innovative approaches to solving social problems. The awards will be given out at a ceremony in Houston on November 4.

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