Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Congressman Jack Kimble Issues Statement on Turkey Drop Calamity

I am saddened to be issuing a statement like this on what should be a joyous day or at least the day before a joyous day. Today at noon, we attempted to give away 20 live turkeys at the Oakdale Shopping Center to the great people of the 54th District. Unfortunately, it was unknown to myself and to my staff that it common practice at turkey farms to clip the wings of the birds. The damage was both severe and unavoidable.

Shortly after noon, the first turkeys were dropped from our helicopter. The first turkey went through the windshield of a 2001 Ford Focus Hatchback. The turkeys hit the ground like bags of wet cement, which not only caused destruction, but incited a panic in the crowd. 4 people were injured including twelve-year-old Jerry Bell of Heritage Valley who suffered a broken clavicle and concussion when struck with one of the birds.

After the first 12 birds fell, and seeing the devastation below, I ordered the helicopter to land so that I could assess the damage. Seeing a very upset and anxious crowd, I tried to make things better by placing the 8 remaining turkeys on the ground next to the helicopter, but was astounded to see the turkeys acting with an intelligence and coordination that I would not have thought possible. The turkeys began to peck and to claw the nearby attendees and we were forced to take the helicopter back to the air in order to avoid them ourselves. Several of the injuries were the result of people trying to hang onto the helicopter as we ascended. There simply was not enough room to take everybody with us.

Contrary to rumors, there were no fatalities at the event and most who came had a great time. We take full responsibility for the damage to property and the injuries suffered by people attending the event. Before Operation Christmas Ham, we will be reviewing all safety procedures and making sure that the problems of today are not repeated in the future. I wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, whether you are at home with family or recuperating from injuries at the hospital.

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