National Guard ties a yellow ribbon around Hormel Foods; State honor recognizes support for troops in peace time and war

Published 8:18 am Tuesday, December 5, 2017

With the lieutenant governor in attendance, Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Recognition Program named Hormel Foods a Yellow Ribbon Company on Monday morning.

The Minnesota National Guard made the award to recognize Hormel Foods’ long tradition of supporting veterans both in peacetime and war.

“We are honored and humbled by this recognition and hope it inspires others to attract and retain veterans,” said Hormel Foods Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jim Sheehan during a ceremony at the Hormel Foods Corporate North building.

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Hormel employees, several of whom were veterans. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard, and Annette Kuyper, Director of Military Outreach for the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs were all present.

Jim Fiala, the co-chair of HMVET and manager of Hog Procurement for Hormel Foods, emceed the ceremony.

A retired veteran of the U.S. Army, Fiala recalled how Hormel took care of him and his family while he was on an 18-month deployment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I think every U.S. service person’s family situation is different and unique,” he said. “In my case I was married with two young children, so it was really about the comfort and the confidence that they were being taken care of in my absence.”

Maj. Gen. Jenson thanked Hormel Foods for its “dedication” and “hard work” in working to hire and retain veterans.

“Your leadership to all companies across the state is a great example to follow,” he said.

Jenson also cited the story of George Hormel giving $10 to three employees who were leaving to fight in the Spanish American War in 1898, promising each of them a job when they came home.

Jenson said Hormel Foods was the 60th company to be named a Yellow Ribbon Company and the first he has named since becoming Adjutant General.

Smith said Hormel Foods’ commitment to veterans “runs deep.”

“This is the 60th  company that has received this designation from Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, but in some ways Hormel was really the first Beyond the Yellow Ribbon company,” she said. “The commitment to service and to recognizing the work of military personnel and their families has been part of Hormel’s DNA from the very beginning, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to recognize that work and to see their commitment is continuing into the future. It’s really about the future of Minnesota’s military families, not just the people that served but also their spouses and making sure that they have an opportunity as well.”

Fiala encouraged the Austin community to embrace the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program.

“I would encourage it to become a community event,” he said. “Its not just about one company.”

Other Yellow Ribbon companies include Mayo Clinic, Minnesota Power, Mall of America, and U.S. Bancorp.