Turkeys a drop in the need bucket | NevadaAppeal.com

Turkeys a drop in the need bucket

by F.T. Norton
Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealDayton resident Sheryl Landers drops off three turkeys at Mike's Pharmacy on Wednesday.

They came by motorcycle, car and on foot. They were dead and frozen as requested. And they will feed three communities.

The turkey roundup at Mike’s Pharmacy on the corner of William and Curry streets Wednesday was a resounding success. The total collected Wednesday exceeded last year’s collections by eight turkeys.

“We’ve done very good,” said pharmacy owner Mike Hautekeet, who hatched the idea after watching the late ’70s/early ’80s television show “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

While the younger generation may not be familiar with the popular sitcom about the inner workings of a radio station, Gen Xers and beyond know all about Venus Flytrap and Dr. Johnny Fever. In one infamous episode the station decided to drop turkeys from a helicopter as a Thanksgiving promotion. The results are disastrous and on-scene radio reporter Les Nessman gives listeners a shocking play-by-play.

“As God is my witness,” announces station manager Arthur Carlson after the turkeys plummeted to their deaths, “I thought turkeys could fly.”

For the Mike’s Pharmacy turkey drop, Hautekeet has obviously tweaked the delivery just a bit.

Instead of tossing the fowls from a helicopter, for the past 13 years he’s asked the community to stop into his shop and drop off turkeys to feed needy families.

So as not to cause any confusion, Hautekeet firmly planted his tongue in his cheek and prominently marked all his fliers with, “Turkeys must be dead and frozen.”

And each year, in homage to WKRP, News Talk 780 KOH broadcasts from Mike’s small front room.

“We really look forward to this,” said Hautekeet, as the collections began to wind down Wednesday evening. “The community keeps us alive, it’s the least we can do for them.”

The turkeys are tossed into a refrigerated truck donated by Model Dairy. This morning the Salvation Army will arrive to collect the Thanksgiving staples and distribute them to area food banks.

Hautekeet’s wife Loreen was the official turkey counter. She manned the dropoff point from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., dutifully marking each fowl or cash donation on a chart attached to the truck door.

By the end of it, 1,401 turkeys were delivered. At least two people dropped off 10 turkeys each. One person made a $1,000 donation. Others dropped off money they collected from co-workers.

Sen. Mark Amodei came in carrying two birds, and newly elected Assemblyman Pete Livermore, fresh from a day of orientation for new legislators, made a pit stop to deliver a couple more.

But, Mike and Loreen agreed, without the steady stream of customers who delivered one turkey at a time, the drop would fall flat.

“We were very worried that we wouldn’t get as many as last year,” said Loreen. “We had actually a very good turnout. I was very pleased.”