During a company event, Hormel Foods announced that it is working with law enforcement officials to move forward with its plans to donate the company’s $25,000 reward contribution directly to Jayme Closs.
“On behalf of the entire Jennie-O and Hormel Foods family, we are overjoyed at the news of Jayme’s safe return,” said Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods. “Her bravery and strength have truly inspired our team members around the world. Barron (Wisconsin) is an incredibly strong community and one that never lost hope. We celebrated with the community, and the world, that Jayme is home.”
“First and foremost, Jennie-O Turkey Store is a family,” said Steve Lykken, Jennie-O Turkey Store president. “Here in Barron our Jennie-O family is dealing with a very tragic situation. While we are still mourning the loss of longtime family members Jim and Denise (Jayme's parents), we are so thankful for Jayme’s brave escape and that she is back in Barron. The company has expressed its wishes to donate the $25,000 to Jayme. Our hope is that a trust fund can be used for Jayme’s needs today and in the future.”
The company has been an active supporter in the community throughout the search for Jayme, including supporting the family and law enforcement officials and organizing a Tree of Hope lighting ceremony. That event, which was held just weeks before her escape, was intended as a forum for employees and community members to send a unified message that no one would give up hope until Jayme was safely back home.
The case surrounding Jayme's abduction was national news. The 13-year-old was kidnapped from her home in Barron in northwestern Wisconsin on October 15. Both of her parents, Jennie-O employees, were killed at that time. She escaped 88 days later. Twenty-one-year-old Jake Patterson has been charged with the kidnapping and homicides.