Taylor Saldana wasn’t expecting to receive one of the highest honors at Hormel Foods. Neither was he planning on saving a co-worker’s life on the way to work one day, but that’s exactly what happened. Taylor, who heads up a department at Mountain Prairie in Las Animas, Colo., was the location’s first 2021 recipient of the specially branded We Were Made for This jersey, the current edition of the Pride of the Jersey award.
His selflessness in rescuing a team member was among the reasons he was celebrated.
It was still dark one morning in early March when Taylor was driving his usual route to work. Deer are often on the road before sunrise, he says, so he was being cautious and taking it slowly. Suddenly, an accident came into view. A truck had gone off the road and flipped over, its lights were on, and there was a small fire coming from the vehicle.
“I said, ‘Holy cow, that’s pretty bad,’” And then he sprung into action. “You just don’t think, you deal,” he adds.
Taylor hopped out of his car and ran to the wreck. The first order of business was getting to the driver. He called out and leaned in, soon realizing it was not a stranger. The person trapped in the truck was Joe, a fellow team member from Mountain Prairie. Taylor called for help and freed Joe from the vehicle via the passenger door. Minutes later, the truck exploded into flames.
“These actions very well saved a life on that early morning,” said John Lofdahl upon giving Taylor the Pride of the Jersey award. The location’s production manager called him “heroic.”
Taylor downplays the accolades, saying he was simply “in the right place at the right time.” But it’s more than that. He enjoys being a caretaker, something he’s learned from his job of nearly five years.
These actions very well saved a life on that early morning.John Lofdahl
Taylor was born in Denver, Colo., and raised in Las Animas. He came to the Hormel Foods location with experience as a day laborer. He had been doing roofing, fencing and other construction work; farming was not part of the equation. However, joining the team at Mountain Prairie changed all that, and it’s been a welcome transition for Taylor.
“I like the animals,” he says. “We feed them and take care of them. They rely on us for everything.”
His home life includes three dogs – two shepherds and a chow. They are no doubt the most pampered pets around, even as Taylor is busy remodeling his house.
Giving his all to whatever he’s doing is what Taylor’s all about. And lifesaving. He does that, too, on occasion.
“I got the jersey, and that’s cool and that’s awesome, but I would just want someone to do the same thing for me,” he says.