Eckrich and Hy-Vee Honor Two-Time Purple Heart Recipient

LISLE, Ill., Oct. 18, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- There was plenty of excitement leading into Saturday night’s Iowa State University football game under the lights in Ames, Iowa. Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, and Hy-Vee made the night even more electrifying with the surprise of a lifetime for one local military family.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

Eckrich invited the Jensen family, from Marshalltown, to attend the Iowa State University Cyclones game on Saturday night where, during a pre-game tailgate, Master Sergeant Clayton Jensen, his wife, Allyson, and their two children were surprised with one year of free groceries at Hy-Vee, courtesy of Eckrich. The family was then escorted onto the field where they were honored during a special on-field ceremony.

MSG Jensen served honorably in the U.S. Army for 15 years. He received two Purple Heart awards, his first in 2003 and his second in 2007. Now living at home, his wife participates in Operation Homefront's Hearts of Valor® program as his caregiver.

“I’m at a loss for words with all that Eckrich has done for our family,” said Jensen. “We have a lot of stress and worry when it comes to buying groceries, and this will help us to free up funds for our family. Thank you to Eckrich, Hy-Vee and Operation Homefront for providing our family with one year of free groceries.”

The gift of free groceries and the opportunity to attend the football game is part of the ongoing campaign by Eckrich to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront, a national non-profit whose mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families.

Eckrich, in its fourth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, has surpassed $1 million in donations since 2012.

“Eckrich is dedicated to honoring and supporting military families across the country,” said Chuck Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. "Like Eckrich, Hy-Vee is committed to this cause, and we are proud to have them join us in this surprise. It is our privilege to thank the Jensen family at the Cyclones game with one year of free groceries.”

For more information about Eckrich please visit Eckrich is a brand of Smithfield Foods.

About Eckrich

Founded by Peter Eckrich in 1894, Eckrich has a rich heritage starting from a small meat market in Fort Wayne, Ind. Through it all, Eckrich meats have been recognized for their great taste and supreme quality, craftsmanship, care and pride. For more information, visit

About Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook's®, John Morrell®, Gwaltney®, Nathan's Famous®, Kretschmar®, Margherita®, Curly's®, Carando® and Healthy Ones®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit

About Operation Homefront

A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has provided assistance to thousands of military families since its inception in 2002. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity watchdog groups, nationally, 92 percent of Operation Homefront’s expenditures go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

Contacts: Laura Pugh Breaking Limits for Eckrich 2137 South Blvd., Suite 200 Charlotte, N.C. 28203 Direct: 704-766-9074 Cell: 704-728-4091 E-Mail:

Source:Smithfield Foods