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Tyson Foods Highlights Support for Military, Veterans at Presidential Event

Oct 19, 2011

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, HAMPTON, Va., Oct 19, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) --

Tyson Foods' (NYSE:TSN) commitment to the U.S. military and military veterans was highlighted today at an event with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.


"As the number one food supplier to military commissaries worldwide, an active employer of veterans and a strong advocate for quality of life for military families, we are proud to be here," said Tyson Foods President and CEO Donnie Smith, one of eight food company executives present at a Langley Air Force Base event featuring the President and First Lady. Smith was part of a small group that met privately with both of them before the First Lady announced a major initiative by military commissary suppliers to hire more veterans and military family members as part of the "Joining Forces" initiative.

Tyson is part of the American Logistics Association, which today on behalf of its members committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses over the next two years.

"Tyson Foods supports and honors veterans," Smith said. "We've employed thousands of veterans over the years and we're always looking to hire more. Not only are they excellent workers who are well-trained and have strong leadership skills, they also have a dedication, honesty and accountability that fits with the Tyson culture."

Melissa Lee, one of the more than 3,000 military veterans currently employed by Tyson Foods, introduced the President and First Lady at Wednesday's event. Lee is an attorney for Tyson who served briefly in the Army National Guard and spent the majority of her service as a Signal officer on active duty in the U.S. Army Reserve. She served in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008-2009, currently holds the rank of Colonel and is assigned to the 335th Signal Command (Theatre) headquartered in East Point, Georgia.

"While these veterans will be thankful for the opportunity to have a job when they get off active duty … I guarantee it will be your companies that benefit the most from their professional skill-sets, positive attitude, work ethic and unequaled leadership abilities," Lee told the crowd of 2,500 people.

Through brokers, Tyson Foods also indirectly employs more than 500 military family members and veterans who help stock Tyson products at military commissaries.

The company regularly makes a concerted effort to hire junior military officers who have received training from an outside agency on how to transition from the military to the business world. Tyson Foods also actively recruits veterans by participating in several military job fairs annually and by using various military websites.

Another way Tyson Foods supports the military is by providing differential pay for all employees called to active military duty, making up the difference between military compensation and pay they normally receive from Tyson. Since September 11, 2001, Tyson has provided more than $2 million in differential pay to almost 400 employees.

Tyson Foods has a Veterans Business Resource Group (BRG) for military veterans who work at the company's corporate headquarters in Arkansas. The group, which is chaired by Lee, partners with the company's Human Resources Department to help hired veterans successfully transition to the business world.

The Veterans BRG also gives the veterans employed by Tyson the opportunity to become active in community initiatives like Honor Flight. It is also involved in sending holiday care packages to fellow employees, family members and friends serving the U.S. military in the Middle East.

Since 2009, Tyson Foods has been a major sponsor and coordinator for Northwest Arkansas Honor Flight, which flies World War II veterans free of charge to Washington D.C. to spend a day visiting the World War II Memorial and other military memorials. Since Tyson initiated the program in northwest Arkansas more than two years ago, there have been four flights transporting a total of 350 World War II veterans. The most recent trip was this past Saturday, October 15.

In recent years, Tyson Foods also has provided food for the Wounded Warrior Picnics at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and for certain welcome home parties for soldiers returning from overseas assignments.

Tyson is the leading suppliers of food to the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) and has been helping feed the U.S. military and their families for more than 50 years.

"We're proud of the savings we're able to provide members of the military and their families through the affordable, high quality products we deliver to U.S. military commissaries around the world," Smith said.

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN), founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork, the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves. Tyson provides products and services to customers throughout the United States and more than 90 countries. The company has approximately 115,000 Team Members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.

The Tyson Foods, Inc. logo is available at

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire,

Tyson Foods, Inc.


CONTACT: Gary Mickelson 479-290-6111 or


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