NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Bo Pilgrim's influence throughout the poultry industry has reached places all over the world. But, a huge mark of his presence can be found in East Texas.
David Alders and Bob Palm. Two men from Nacogdoches who knew and still remember Bo Pilgrim, as a man who played more than just one role throughout his long life.
Alders is a member of the board of regents at Steven F. Austin University, but, in regards to Pilgrim, he was and still is a supplier of chickens.
"Bo Pilgrim is the guy who really, whose company and whose vision gave me the opportunity to make a living in rural East Texas," said Alders.
Alders said his dream was to spend his time working on a farm. And, Pilgrim helped him with that dream.
"In 1989, I built our first poultry farm, which we expanded a number of years later," said Alders. "And, then expanded yet again in the year 2000. All that was made possible by a guy whose entrepreneurial vision and risk tolerance allowed him to build, enabled him, equipped him to build this big company."
Palm worked under Pilgrim in Pilgrim's Pride, after Palm's company was bought by Pilgrim.
"Well, he loved the Lord," said Palm. "I mean, that was paramount with him. And, he was a very generous individual."
Palm remembered that Pilgrim often showed his giving nature.
"He had this black book, just little steps called 'Good News for Modern Men'," said Palm. "And the unique thing about this black book, each one of them he handed out at any event, had a crisp, brand new, twenty dollar bill folded in it."
Nacogdoches is one of the communities that has felt both Pilgrim's generosity and his innovation.
"In Nacogdoches alone, Pilgrim's Pride has employed something on the order of 1,300 people," said Alder's. "So, Pilgrim's Pride has for the past couple of decades been Nacogdoches County's principal employer."
Both men still work in the fields where they met Pilgrim and plan on honoring his memory by doing their best in the industry he loved.