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Lanterns Filled the Sky as Hundreds Gather in Small Midwestern Town to Light a Tree of Hope at Ceremony for Missing Teen Jayme Closs

Barron, Wis.

Residents of Barron, Wisc., and the surrounding communities came together in hope and remembrance Wednesday night.

Hundreds attended the Lighting of a Tree of Hope for Jayme Closs ceremony and lit more than 65 lanterns into the sky in honor of Jim and Denise Closs and the continued hope for the safe return of their daughter, Jayme.

Closs has been missing since October 15 and the event highlighted the community’s continued resolve to find Jayme and bring her home.

“Tonight, we show the world that Barron is full of hope and full of light,” said Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods. “Jim and Denise Closs were more than team members, they were family. And so is Jayme. This tree of hope will shine brightly in remembrance of Denise and Jim, and it will also be a reminder that we must not lose hope for Jayme and her safe return.” The company and its subsidiary, Jennie-O Turkey Store, partnered with the Barron School District to coordinate the event. Jim and Denise Closs were long-time Jennie-O Turkey Store team members.

Michael Closs, Jim Closs’ brother, spoke on behalf of the family. “The support has been overwhelming. Our family is just like you, we just want Jayme home. We can’t thank the community enough.”

“This is what we are running on right now, is hope,” said Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald. “While this case is very heart breaking, this [event] is very heartwarming at the same time. We have one goal left, we will bring Jayme home and we will bring peace to this community.”

Anyone with tips can contact the sheriff’s department at 1-855-744-3879 or via email at

“When Jennie-O Turkey Store and Hormel Foods approached us to do this event, we were so moved. It’s been a really difficult time for us all and when the idea for the tree was presented, we couldn’t have thought of a better way to share our hope and wishes for Jayme’s safe return,” said Diane Tremblay, Barron County School Superintendent.

The event ended with a special video message from Barron native, musician and NBC’s “The Voice” finalist Chris Kroeze. Kroeze said, “I want to encourage everyone to keep hope alive and stay positive. Bringing the community together is an awesome thing and it’s just encouraging to see everyone pull together like this.” Kroeze had dedicated his performance of The Beatles’ “Let it Be” to Jayme and the Barron community on a recent episode of the show.

About Hormel Foods – Inspired People. Inspired Food.

Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a global branded food company with over $9 billion in annual revenues across 75 countries worldwide. Its brands include SKIPPY®, SPAM®, Hormel® Natural Choice®, Applegate®, Justin’s®, Columbus®, Wholly Guacamole®, Hormel® Black Label® and more than 30 other beloved brands. The company is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, was named one of “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for the tenth year in a row, and has received numerous other awards and accolades for its corporate responsibility and community service efforts. In 2016, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary and announced its new vision for the future – Inspired People. Inspired Food.™ – focusing on its legacy of innovation. For more information, visit and