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Service and Support: Meijer is Dedicated to Military Members
May 30, 2024

As the Director of Food Safety & Quality Compliance for Meijer, Tom McMahan plays a key role in ensuring the safety, quality, and freshness of food in our Meijer distribution and manufacturing facilities, and our stores across the Midwest.

But this isn’t Tom’s only important role and calling in life. He also serves our country as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve – and has for the past 32 years.

He recently returned from a nine-month deployment in the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia regions. Tom served as the Commander of the Third Medical Command (Forward), which is the theater-enabling medical command for the U.S. Central Command (U.S. CENTCOM) area of responsibility. 

Tom led military units that performed missions in as many as 12 different countries at any time. They were responsible for all medical elements in the area, including hospitalization, medical logistics and equipment repair, behavioral health, public health, dental and optometry care, as well as veterinary services.

He leveraged his skills and knowledge supporting Meijer facilities and brought them to his military teams and into the field to help ensure the safety and quality of food sourced for the military bases and served in the dining facilities.

Meijer Support from Employment through Deployment

From the moment Tom received orders for deployment until returning to work, he always felt well-supported by the Meijer team.

“The transition can be challenging, but Meijer makes the process simple,” he said. “It’s a simple conversation with a member of our Integrated Leave Management team dedicated to supporting you through the entire process.” 

In addition to the seamless HR component, Tom was tremendously grateful to receive care packages from Meijer corporate teams, manufacturing facilities and 32 stores during his deployment. The shipments included personal hygiene items, nonperishable snacks and cards from the communities served by our stores.

Tom wasn’t the only person who benefited. He shared the hard-to-access favorites across four countries and with thousands of fellow soldiers.

“The outpouring of support from Meijer demonstrated their appreciation for the sacrifice our United States military service members and their families make for our freedom,” Tom said. “And, it confirmed what I already knew – that Meijer truly cares for everyone on their team – to include the times when the nation calls and we are wearing a different uniform for a while…a military one.”

Leave Benefits for Active-Duty Military Members

Meijer supports those who serve through its Military Leave Benefits, which were recently enhanced.

“There are very few companies with comparable military leave benefits than Meijer,” Tom said.

With the changes, deployed military members who have been with the company at least one year receive 100 percent income replacement, which is the difference between their average weekly base pay earnings and their active duty pay, for up to nine months. Those with less than one year receive the same percentage of assistance for up to three months.

Meijer also extended access to health care coverage for up to nine months after active-duty team members leave to help alleviate the strain on their families during the deployment.

“These changes will greatly benefit service men and women at Meijer,” Tom said. “Differential pay ensures families remain financially stable and health benefits provide invaluable support during these potentially stressfully transitions.”

These benefits can be used throughout a career at Meijer with no maximum limit.

“It’s comforting to know that we can answer the call to service without jeopardizing our position or our family’s financial stability and well-being,” he said.

mVets: Empowering Meijer Military Support

Tom continues to recognize how the unique perspective of military experience is applied to the daily work he does at Meijer, especially in areas of leadership.

One of Tom’s leadership roles includes serving as the Co-Chair of mVets, a Meijer Team Member Resource Group dedicated to attracting, developing, and retaining members of the armed forces and their families as team members and customers. Like other diversity and inclusion groups at Meijer, mVets creates a sense of community among colleagues with a shared experience and provides an opportunity to connect.

mVets is active in the communities we serve, supporting veterans in partnership with organizations like United Way and other Veteran Affairs agencies.

A Welcoming Return 

Upon returning from deployment, Tom’s colleagues recognized his absence and greeted him warmly.

The welcoming moments felt familiar and took Tom back to one of his first days on the job when Hank Meijer personally introduced himself, simply because he saw a new team member.

“Experiencing the support of colleagues has made it evident that Meijer intentionally developed core values that actually mean something,” Tom said. “Our team and leadership live by them every day.”

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