Eckrich and Nathan's Famous Surprise Military Family at Tootsie's 55th Anniversary NASH BASH

LISLE, Ill., Oct. 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When Corey Jackson, a current artist at Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge and a U.S. Marine veteran who served in Iraq, was introduced on stage yesterday afternoon to perform at Tootsie’s 55th Anniversary NASH BASH presented by Eckrich and Nathan’s Famous, he had no idea what was about to happen.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Just after his performance and before the start of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, surprised Jackson and his wife Gayle with $5,000 of free groceries at Dollar General.

In June of 2013, Gayle suffered a severe stroke that took her ability to speak and left part of the right side of her body paralyzed. After spending two years at a healthcare facility 70 miles from Nashville, Corey decided to bring Gayle home and provide care for her. Gayle has always enjoyed listening to Corey perform, so each week when he goes to work, Corey packs her wheelchair along with his musical equipment so Gayle can get out of the house and hear him sing.

“Eckrich is a strong supporter of military families, having donated more than $1 million to Operation Homefront over the last four years, so when our friends at Tootsie’s told us about Corey and Gayle, we wanted to help,” said Mike Paribello, Sr. Director of Marketing, Smithfield Foods. “It was an honor to surprise the Jacksons with $5,000 in free groceries at Dollar General. Corey’s devotion to our country and his family is an inspiration and we’re proud to provide assistance during this difficult time.”

Operation Homefront is a national non-profit whose mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families.

“It’s been two hard years,” said Corey. “She had her stroke two-and-a-half years ago and I’ve been taking care of her. There have been a lot of hardships. For something like this to happen is a godsend. Thank you, Eckrich. Thank you, Nathan’s hot dogs. This will take a lot of stress off of our family.”

Smithfield Foods is the licensee of Nathan’s Famous pre-packaged hot dogs.

About Nathan's Famous

Nathan's currently distributes its products in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Cayman Islands and nine foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. Nathan's was ranked #55 on the Forbes list of the Best Small Companies in America and was listed as the Best Small Company in New York State in October 2013. Last year, over 500 million Nathan's Famous hot dogs were sold. For additional information about Nathan's please visit our website at

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.

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Source:Smithfield Foods