More than 900 World War II veterans flown to Washington, D.C.
Highfill, Ark. – May 1, 2014 – Five years ago, Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) helped organize the first official Arkansas Honor Flight, taking World War II veterans on a one-day trip to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials, including one built and dedicated in their honor.
This Saturday, May 3, will be the eleventh and final Arkansas Honor Flight. Including this trip, more than 900 World War II veterans have taken part in the Arkansas program since it started in 2009. Due to the advancing age and diminishing number of World War II veterans, the flights from Arkansas will no longer be offered.
Thanks to private donations and the support of Tyson Foods and Walmart, a commercial jet has been chartered to fly more than 80 veterans free of charge from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) to Washington, D.C., and back. The group, which will include veterans as old as 98 years old, will tour the World War II Memorial as well as other military memorials during their day in the nation’s capital.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to help organize these trips,” said Bill McKenzie, director of aviation for Tyson Foods and a Vietnam War veteran, who has coordinated all ten previous flights. “They call our World War II veterans the ‘greatest generation.’ There’s no greater satisfaction than getting to know these veterans, hearing their stories and seeing their faces when they see the memorials. It has given me an even greater appreciation for their service to our country. I’m also thankful for the positive feedback we’ve received from their families.”
“We are honored to once again support the Arkansas Honor Flight this year,” said retired Brigadier General Gary Profit, Walmart’s senior director of military programs. “These veterans bravely served our country, and they should know their service is still very much appreciated and recognized. It’s a privilege to be able to help bring them to our nation’s capital.”
Flight organizers encourage the public to be at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport terminal at approximately 7:45 p.m., Saturday evening, to be part of a special return reception for the veterans. The reception will include a color guard and patriotic music by the Rogers Heritage High School band.
“Attending the return reception Saturday night is a great way to show your support and thanks to these veterans who served our country so well,” said McKenzie.
Honor Flight Network is a national non-profit organization that started seven years ago in Ohio, with six small planes taking a dozen World War II veterans to see their memorial. Today, there are regional Honor Flight hubs in more than 40 states. Including this week’s trip, Tyson and Walmart have been the primary sponsors of eleven Honor Flights - seven from the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport and four flights from Little Rock since 2009.
The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas have been one of the sponsors for the Little Rock flights and also are providing bus transportation and hotel accommodations for Central Arkansas veterans who will be on this Saturday’s flight from XNA.
A group of “guardians,” who include family members and volunteers, will fly with the World War II veterans to provide assistance during the trip. Organizational support for the flights has also been provided by Tyson Foods’ Veterans Business Resource Group, which includes military veterans employed by the company.
Arkansas Honor Flight is part of larger, ongoing commitments to the U.S. military and military veterans by Tyson Foods and Walmart. Each company has been recognized by The White House for their commitment to hiring former service men and women completing active duty.
On Memorial Day 2013, Walmart launched its Welcome Home Commitment and promised to offer a job to any honorably discharged U.S. veteran within his or her first 12 months off active duty. Veterans interested in learning more can visit www.WalmartCareersWithAMission.com.
As part of its “Camo to Khaki” initiative, a reference to Tyson Foods’ often-worn khaki uniform, Since 2011, Tyson Foods has hired more than 3,000 veterans, exceeding a public commitment to hire 2,500 veterans by the end of 2014.
About Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE TSN), 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 was founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson, whose family has continued to be involved with son Don Tyson leading the company for many years and grandson John H. Tyson serving as the current Chairman of the Board of Directors. Tyson Foods 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. The company provides products and services to customers throughout the United States and approximately 130 countries. It 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 Foods 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.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere -- in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 245 million customers and members visit our 11,302 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and ecommerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2014 sales of over $473 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.
Contact: Gary Mickelson, Tyson Foods, 479-290-6111 or email@example.com
Katie Cody, Walmart,
1-800-331-0085 or www.news.walmart.com/reporter