Haverhill Kiwanians Declare ‘Turkey Drop’ A Great Success

Kiwanian Thomas O. Faulkner is well dressed for a Thanksgiving turkey drop. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill Kiwanian Thomas O. Faulkner, clad in a turkey suit, had the job of picking up rubber turkeys that missed a tarp on the ground. (WHAV News photograph.)

Members of the Haverhill High School Key Club, associated with Kiwanis, had the job of matching turkeys with prize winners. (WHAV News photograph.)

Members of the Whittier Regional Vocational Technical School Key Club, associated with Kiwanis, had the job of matching turkeys with prize winners. (WHAV News photograph.)

Reminiscent of a classic 1970s radio show, Haverhill Kiwanis dropped 100 rubber turkeys from a helicopter flying over Murphy’s Garrison Golf Saturday afternoon.

Unlike the “Turkeys Away” episode of “WKRP in Cincinnati,” there were no mishaps and no live turkeys were killed. WHAV’s Tim Coco, somewhat playing the role of WKRP’s fictitious newscaster Les Nessman, broadcasted live when the birds fell.

“The first have fallen! The first have fallen! About 10—10 have fallen. I didn’t see any parachutes. There’s three more coming down, falling really nicely onto the tarp. There isn’t going to be much cleanup. Two more coming down…”

The fist-sized rubber turkeys fell on marked squares on a tarp below. Prizes, ranging from frozen turkeys to gift certificates, were awarded to ticket holders who laid claim to the squares. A lack of wind and secret stuffing—water injected into the birds to give them ballast—ensured all but a few hit the targets. The few strays were collected and thrown randomly back onto the squares by Kiwanian Thomas O. Faulkner, clad in a turkey outfit.

Seventeen-year Kiwanian Thomas L. Mortimer, president and CEO of Haverhill Bank, was surprised by the near-perfect targeting by Boston Helicopters. “Fantastic event and I think kudos to the helicopter driver. He hit..maybe one or two turkeys missed the grid.”

Event chairman Rich Porcelli was pleased with the outcome.

“Yeah, it was a great success. I want to thank everybody who donated, thank everybody who bought a ticket, everybody who especially came out today,” he said.

Mary Murphy of Murphy’s Garrison Golf said she was a bit nervous. “It was a little bit scary to me seeing that helicopter over the property, but it all worked out well. It is a good charity and we’re always open to helping people in a charity.”

Money raised supports local Kiwanis charities, said Haverhill Kiwanis President Kelly Contarino.

“What we want to do is, any money that we raise we want to be able to help out organizations—non-profit organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, the pediatric ward for hospice and many other organizations that help children,” Contarino said.

Former WHAV football play-by-play announcer, John Katsaros, came out to witness the “turkey drop.” He told WHAV General Manager Tim Coco he is also pleased the radio station has returned to the FM airwaves.

“Well, as a Kiwanian, it was wonderful and also as a former WHAV announcer for football, it is wonderful to be with you. I’m happy to see you bringing back WHAV 100 percent for Haverhill.”

Porcelli said Kiwanis will now review the outcome of the event and decide whether it should become an annual tradition. “I would love to see in eight or 10 years for it to be a full event that all of Haverhill can come down to and enjoy,” he said.