High celebrates 50 years at poultry plant

Friday, September 12, 2014
Surrounded by her co-workers at Tyson Foods' Berryville plant, Jean High celebrates 50 years of service at the plant during a party Tuesday. David Bell / Carroll County News

When Tyson Foods bought Ocoma Foods, a poultry processing plant in Berryville, in 1972, Jean High had already been working at the plant for eight years.

Forty-two years later, High is still there. On Tuesday she celebrated 50 years of working in poultry processing.

"It's doesn't seem that long," she said.

High began working the line with Ocoma in 1964 and stayed in that position for about nine years, doing "whatever was asked" of her. Shortly after Tyson bought Ocoma, High moved to a position in the insurance office.

Tyson's production quickly boomed, separating the insurance office into payroll and stocks. High began working primarily in stocks and continues to do so today. She credits Tyson for "doing a lot of good" for the Berryville community.

"If Tyson had never come to town, people in the vicinity would be hurting," she said. "Even today, we pull people from everywhere to work here."

High said she enjoys her job.

"I get to talk to people," she said. "I've always really liked people and tried to understand what they're going through. I've always enjoyed working here."

In the class she teaches for new hires, High said she always tells them to value their insurance and their job.

"I tell them to stay with Tyson and they'll put a lot back," she said.

High's co-workers speak highly of her, many describing how dedicated she is to the Tyson team.

Mike Armstrong, who has worked with High for 28 years, called her a "loyal team member." "She's dedicated to taking care of our team," Armstrong said. "She goes out of her way to help everyone."

LaDenna McCullough has worked with High for 37 years and described her as "a good friend" who is "very faithful to work."

Linda Vale concurred with McCullough, saying, "She's a great, wonderful, caring person."

High has two children, Marvona and Jed, with husband Marvon High and one granddaughter. She was born in Carroll County and attended high school in Blue Eye, Mo.

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