DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (KCAU) — It would be notable for one person to work at the same company for 50 years, but there’s a Nebraska couple who have worked together at Tyson Foods for half a century and then retired on the same week.
Janet and Darrell Mellick met over brisket five decades ago, but it wasn’t a dinner date. They found love on the assembly line at the meat packing plant.
“I was deboning briskets, and she started later trimming briskets. And that’s where we met,” said Darrell Mellick.
A wedding soon followed, and so did starting a family. The couple’s daughter, Tonya Mellick-Ginder, said she owes who she is today to Tyson.
“Thanks for meeting out there because without that, I wouldn’t be here. And thanks to Tyson for giving me the life I’ve had growing up,” she said.
Tonya said since she was a child, her dad told her he was going to work at Tyson for half a century, but that plan was almost derailed.
“My dad had a stroke three years ago and his goal, which we think brought him back, was to get his 50 years at Tyson. And that’s what made him get better. So, without Tyson, who knows. So, I’m thankful for that,” said Mellick-Ginder.
Friends and coworkers said they’re thankful for Janet and Darrell and everything they’ve brought to work with them each day.
“I’ve known Darrell for many years. I’ve worked there for 43 years myself. He’s always a happy-go-lucky guy. He and his wife are both special people and the place isn’t gonna be the same without them. He’s going to be sorely missed but we all wish them a happy retirement,” said Tyson coworker, Tom Utesth. “He always had a smile on his face and was laughing and just made it a better place to be.”
The highlight of their career? Each other.
“Meeting him, getting married. Finding my honey,” said Janet Mellick.
When asked how it feels to be married for 50 years…
The couple said they’re thankful for everyone they’ve met along the way.
“We’re gonna miss a lot of the people, and we’re gonna miss… I guess working at Tyson. Fifty years you know, it’s a long time. We spent so much time with them, it’s like family. Really, we spent more waking hours there than with family. It was a good life. We had a good life together,” said Janet Mellick.