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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

How Eckrich Used America’s Love of College Football to Honor and Benefit the Country’s Teachers

This is a guest post by John Pauley, Smithfield Food’s Executive Vice President of Retail Sales, Packaged Meats Division

Our country may have been split when the Alabama Crimson Tide faced the Georgia Bulldogs at this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship, but Eckrich brought fans together with a cause everyone could cheer for: America’s teachers. From the sheer importance of their job to their dedication to it, teachers deserve to be recognized, thanked, and rewarded—and that’s exactly what the Eckrich team strived to do at this year’s championship game.

In the brand’s second year as the official smoked sausage and deli meat sponsor of the College Football Playoff, Eckrich challenged ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit to complete a nearly impossible 20-yard throw to earn $1 million for the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers cause and invited Teachers of the Year from across the country to cheer him on from the sideline.

As hundreds of excited onlookers rooted him on and millions watched during ESPN’s “College Football Live,”Kirk stepped up to the line to attempt the throw. The ball soared through the air and hit the side of the target, missing by inches. Knowing he could make it, and unrelenting in his desire to earn the money for Extra Yard for Teachers, Kirk stepped up again and took two more attempts, sinking the third as his perfect spiral went right through the target. Despite two fruitless throws,we were thrilled to honor the success of the third and announce a $500,000 donation to the deserving organization.

The entire Eckrich team was elated when Kirk made his throw, and we feel honored to present the Extra Yard for Teachers cause with the largest donation from an outside benefactor it has received to date.

Teachers face multiple challenges in their profession today. This half-million dollar donation will help further elevate and support the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering teachers through the implementation of programs in four focus areas: resources, recognition, recruitment, and professional development. Extra Yard for Teachers hopes to address and make a difference in each of these areas over the next ten years, ultimately leading to brighter futures for tomorrow’s leaders—a“touchdown” for all.

John Pauley

John Pauley is Smithfield Food’s Executive Vice President of Retail Sales, Packaged Meats Division.

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