Belle River loses its traffic mascot, Tommy the turkey

·2 min read
Tommy the turkey will be missed by many residents of Belle River. (Facebook  - image credit)
Tommy the turkey will be missed by many residents of Belle River. (Facebook - image credit)

Belle River residents are grieving the loss of a well-known figure in their community, Tommy the turkey.

Tommy, also known as the traffic mascot of Belle River, was hit by a car on Notre Dame St. on Thursday.

After reading about the tragic incident on Facebook, Lorri Horton, a Belle River resident, created a memorial and buried Tommy in her backyard.

"They said he was lying there and no one was available to go and get him," Horton said. "I just wrote, 'I'm on way.'"

Horton and her son spent the day digging and creating a pleasant-looking memorial for Tommy.

"He can't just be disposed of. He was a citizen here. It was his Belle River, let's face it," Horton said.

Darrin Di Carlo/CBC
Darrin Di Carlo/CBC

Tommy the turkey became well-known to the community for appearing in the middle of traffic, often bringing cars to a halt.

He became an instant sensation in March this year, when Robb Meloche used a drone to film him in the middle of traffic.

"I heard everybody honking in front of my house. I knew what was going on right away," Meloche.

He quickly grabbed his drone and began filming the scene with the turkey in the middle of traffic.

"I named him Tommy the turkey," he said.

'Brought some life to the town'

Tommy soon became a public figure to residents and others through a social media page called Tommy the turkey Spotters.

Sarah Hoster, a resident outside of Belle River, recalled having to stop for Tommy in the middle of the road while she was driving to the grocery store.

"The people definitely liked him. I would see him crossing the road or sitting in the middle of the road making it hard for people to cross. I think he definitely brought some life, I guess, to the town," Hoster said.

Giovanni Butera remembered Tommy for his traffic stops.

"Personally I appreciated Tommy's services to the community. In efforts to assist in traffic calming in our little sub division, we're actually incorporating Tommy's image on a t-shirt with a stop sign, to educate drivers to slow down in our community," Butera said.

To keep the memory of Tommy alive, Horton has offered neighbours and residents a chance to pay their respects at the memorial.

"It is tragic. You fall in love with this character, this mascot of Belle River and you don't want it to be over," Meloche said.

"I'm hoping his legacy lives on."

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