Twenty-two years ago, we welcomed our first director of Chaplain Services, establishing a new program providing compassionate pastoral care to team members and their families, regardless of religious affiliation or beliefs. The program, which has since grown to nearly 100 chaplains across the country, is central to who we are as a company and reflective of our culture and core values.

And the way our chaplains support team members continues to evolve.

“Chaplaincy to me means taking care of people in a way that also takes care of the business,” said Kevin Scherer, director of Chaplain Services.

Chaplains are uniquely positioned to help advance all aspects of the team member experience, tackling social and environmental challenges and spearheading solutions. One Tyson Foods chaplain, for example, found a connection between limited transportation and team member absenteeism. She worked with the community to secure a $3.2 million transportation grant from the state to create a program benefiting workers in the area at large.  

In celebration of Clergy Appreciation Month, read on as some of our chaplains talk about what chaplaincy at Tyson Foods means to them and how they define success.

John Pooler, Wilkesboro, N.C.

“My successful day is when I can lay down at night, scan my day and know I have exhausted every measure to be creatively positive, encouraging, and insightfully present in the lives of our Tyson team and their families. To ensure that my definition of ‘help’ truly met the demand of moments of desperation. To ask for forgiveness for those expectations I did not reach. Sigh, and then reflectively say, ‘God give me more so I can be more.’”

Pierce McIntyre, Noel, Mo.; Stilwell, Okla.; Westville, Okla.

“I am a servant to all Tyson team members, to encourage and enable them to thrive as individuals. Tyson can produce and deliver products to their customers without chaplains, but Tyson cares about their people by having chaplains in the workplace.”

Brenda Zahnley, Dakota Dunes, S.D.

“[Being a chaplain] means to be a compassionate caring servant leader and help team members explore their belief systems by seeing them, hearing them, and valuing their unique cultural backgrounds and experiences. By providing compassionate care and resources for the team member, our company enhances and promotes the well-being and mental health of each individual.”

Moises Chan, Springdale, Ark.

“[Being a chaplain] is working in collaboration with management to offer the best support to our team members in a wholistic manner. I offer support emotionally and spiritually, in a whole way to my fellow workers, management and line workers.

To the best of my ability, [a successful day is] being able to reach out to someone in the plant with the resources…to address challenges they face.”