Frito-Lay’s TrueNorth® Brand Shines the Spotlight on Inspirational “True North” Stories (MI)

June 2, 2009

Michigan Resident Nancy Heussner Helps Kick-Off National TrueNorth Story of the Month Campaign

PLANO, Texas - Inspired by the belief that everyone has a singular passion in life, TrueNorth, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division’s popular line of 100% natural nut snacks, announced today the launch of the “TrueNorth Story of the Month” campaign, which will recognize real people who have pursued their life's passions or their “true north.” In June, the TrueNorth brand will feature four inspirational stories – Nancy Heussner, Eric Kapitulik, Jennifer Dempsey and Mack McCarter – from its nationwide search last year for the most inspiring story in America. Beginning to July through the end of the year, during each month of the campaign, one individual will be featured as the “TrueNorth Story of the Month” and will be awarded a $1,000 grant and a passion pack to help in the pursuit of his or her passion.

At an early age, Nancy was an equestrian with a compassion for the disabled, so it was no surprise that she found a way to unite her love for human beings and horses. Compassion ignited passion, and in 1997 her version became O.A.T.S. – Offering Alternative Therapy with Smiles – an all-volunteer therapeutic horseback riding facility on 50 beautiful acres in Clarkston, Michigan. Through the physical and emotional benefits of horseback riding, O.A.T.S. provides independence and confidence to more than 100 disabled children and adults each week.

“I wanted to do something that united my love for human beings and horses, and O.A.T.S. provides a unique opportunity to do just that and really benefit the individuals that come to us on a daily basis,” exclaimed Heussner.  “We are dedicated to improving and enriching the quality of lives for children and adults with special needs, but more importantly offering alternative therapy with a smile.  I’m very thankful to TrueNorth for giving us this unique opportunity to shine the spotlight on our organization.”

“During our search for individuals who are pursuing their true north, we found so many people including Nancy who dedicate their lives to making a difference in our world,” said Regan Ebert, vice president and general manager, warehouse direct business, Frito-Lay North America.  “Nancy’s story truly exemplifies the purpose of TrueNorth – giving life extraordinary meaning.  We are thrilled to have the opportunity to put the spotlight on her incredible story.”

Beginning today, TrueNorth invites consumers to submit a written essay that describes how they are pursuing their life’s passion through the brand’s website –  The brand will select a “Story of the Month” each month through December that will be prominently featured on the web site.

In addition to shining the spotlight on Nancy, three other individuals will be featured as part of the TrueNorth Story of the Month kick-off:

• Jennifer Dempsey’s true north is providing confidence through free circus workshops for at-risk, low-income children. Her efforts act both as a personal development tool and as a community-building tool by offering free performances at senior centers, nursing homes and other community events. She currently runs the Salida Circus Outreach Foundation in Colorado, but has been involved in similar programs for over 20 years.

• Mack McCarter’s singular life passion is restoring low-income, high crime communities into the caring community he knew as a child growing up. His friends called him foolish, but in 1994 Mack ventured into the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods and started knocking on doors with the goal of restoring their foundation. His efforts grew into Community Renewal International, a nonprofit that has helped more than 1,700 at-risk children, and brought together nearly 40,000 residents through simple activities that make families feel more secure about their neighborhood.

• Eric Kapitulik's true north is raising a college scholarship fund for the children of six fallen soldiers. On December 9th, 1999, Eric miraculously survived a military helicopter crash; many of the men with him weren't so lucky. Since that tragic day, he’s made it his mission to keep the memory of the six men alive by helping the families they left behind. Through speaking engagements covering "Dealing with Adversity and Leadership," participating in seven Triathlons and numerous other ultra endurance races around the world Eric has raised over $115,000 dollars – and counting to help the soldiers’ families.

After a nationwide search last year for the most inspiring story in America, TrueNorth selected Lisa Nigro, founder of Inspiration Café, and featured her in a sixty-second commercial that made its debut in February during a nationally broadcast awards ceremony. More than two thousands stories were submitted from across the country that featured amazing individuals who are pursuing their life’s passion and impacting the people around them.

TrueNorth is a contemporary brand of 100% natural nut snacks that followed its passion to take a simple nut and make a more extraordinary snack. The TrueNorth brand believes everyone has a singular passion in life that can leave a legacy, empower others or simply make the world a more interesting place to live. By showcasing these powerful stories, TrueNorth hopes to inspire people to find the passion that drives them to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Frito-Lay North America is the $12 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo, which is headquartered in Purchase, N.Y. In addition to Frito-Lay, PepsiCo business units include Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Foods, Gatorade and Tropicana.  Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate Web site,, and the Snack Chat blog,